Perhaps putting to rest a cautionary tale for the pay-TV industry about diving headlong into new display technologies, Sony and LG have announced that they will stop integrating 3D capabilities into the TV sets they manufacture this year.
"3D capability was never really universally embraced in the industry for home use, and it's just not a key buying factor when selecting a new TV," said Tim Alessi, LG'sdirector of new product development, to CNET. "Purchase process research showed it's not a top buying consideration, and anecdotal information indicated that actual usage was not high. We decided to drop 3D support for 2017 in order to focus our efforts on new capabilities such as HDR, which has much more universal appeal."
The moves come four years after DirecTV decided to end its 24-hour 3D programming channel.
ESPN dropped its own 3D channel a year later. Comcast, Sony, Discovery and IMAX also teamed up on a short-lived 3D TV gambit.
Consumer electronics companies, pay-TV operators and programmers jumped headlong into the home 3D market back in 2010, when James Cameron’s Avatar grossed nearly $2.8 billion at the global box office and wowed audiences worldwide with the most effective 3D graphics they’d ever seen on a movie screen.
However, delivering a consistent level of 3D experience proved difficult for the motion picture industry, which has since relegated 3D to a niche premium offering.
The 3D experience was even harder to manage in the home, where consumers in smart-phone using, multitasking age had to be convinced to wear glasses and find a good stationary viewing angle while sitting on their couches.
"I think [the fact that Sony and LG dropped 3D] says that consumers have moved on to other purchase motivators for TV," added Ben Arnold, executive director at NPD, to CNET. "Things like 4K/UHD, HDR and even smart have become the key features along with screen size that consumers are buying on."