Remember when all the providers were coming out with exclusive 3D programming and every manufacturer was releasing their version of 3D television? As it turns out, many people don’t. The classic cautionary tale of jumping on the bandwagon of trendy new technology came to an end in January of 2017 as the final two manufacturing holdouts, LG and Sony, announced that they will no longer be producing 3D televisions. If you have one, hold on to it, that may become a collector’s item more quickly than you had hoped.
3D technology really launched into the mainstream in 2010 with the success of James Cameron’s Avatar. However, bringing that 3D magic into people’s living rooms proved more challenging than expected. It is no easy task to convince consumers to wear glasses and stay in a stationary viewing angle on their couch to enjoy 3D programming, in fact it proved to be an impossible task as 3D televisions were never really adopted by the mainstream.
LG and Sony were the last two major manufacturers to produce 3D capable televisions, but no more as of January 2017. Even their more expensive, top-end models will not offer 3D support moving forward. This move has been a long time coming as consumers spoke with their wallets and have not been willing to shell out any extra money for 3D features. Vizio stopped offering 3D TV’s back in 2013, Samsung in 2016 and finally Sony and LG join them in 2017.
“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’s director 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.”
Few consumers purchased a 3D TV, even when prices dropped considerably after they had been around for a year. And even fewer people actually enjoyed their 3D TV. As such, there is not likely to be any kind of measurable backlash for LG or Sony due to their halt of manufacturing 3D capable hardware.
“I think [the fact that Sony and LG dropped 3D] says that consumers have moved on to other purchase motivators for TV,” says Ben Arnold, executive director at NPD. “Things like 4K/UHD, HDR and even smart have become the key features along with screen size that consumers are buying on.”