3D has been present in cinema since its introduction to the medium of film in the early ’50s. In the time leading up to the 2000s, it had a passing presence, with films (mostly blockbusters) infrequently using the format. It wasn’t until the advent of modern methods of delivering 3D imagery (i.e., IMAX 3D, RealD 3D, and Dolby 3D) that it became a common alternative for moviegoers everywhere. And while it saw a gradual increase in popularity, it was James Cameron’s Avatar that truly gave the format an immense boost.
With its popularity on the big screen rising, several TV makers set out to deliver the technology to the home through 3D TVs. Initially, adoption was slow, although manufacturers blamed the initial slow-going of sales on the lack of content and promised things would get better. As time went on and the number of titles available in home 3D formats increased, sales did not substantially improve. Now it seems the short-lived era of 3D TV may be drawing to a close, as Samsung — one of the TV manufacturers — has decided to dropped the technology from its upcoming models.
As CNET reports, a source from Samsung confirmed the company’s new line of new TVs will no longer include 3D functionality. The reason for the sudden departure, as Samsung says, is that the company would prefer to focus on further implementing other technologies into their TV sets — mainly smart TV.
There seem to be several other indicators for why Samsung chose to give up on 3D, one of which is that many consumers — especially as of late — have ceased caring whether or not 3D functionality was included. Indeed, the boost given from including 3D in a TV was so small that Samsung began advertising other features, like 4K UHD and smart TV, over 3D.
Smart TV has been around for a while, although Samsung continues to make new improvements in hopes of drawing in repeat adopters. 4K UHD, like 3D before it, has gradually made its way into more and more TV sets over the last couple of years. With the recent release of 4K Blu-rays, it’s feasible that its popularity and profitability will only improve. On top of that, HDR — which stands for high-dynamic-range — made its debut in last year’s CES Expo (Samsung refers to their version as SUHD, although it’s essentially the same), and like 4K, might receive some help with more content using the feature, which gives movies an expanded color range, becoming readily available.
By no means is 3D TV completely gone forever, and over the next few years, 3D content for consumers to watch at home will continue to trickle in as it has for the last few years. But with Samsung halting production of any new 3D TVs, it would not be a huge surprise if other companies began to follow suit and look towards other features to gain back consumers.