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5 Reasons Why 3D is Here To Stay

January 26, 2011

It seems that everywhere you look these days you see marketing for 3D movies, 3D TVs, and 3D channels from your cable/satellite provider.  Past attempts to bring 3D to the mainstream consumer market have all failed.  So why does 3D seem to be gaining traction now?  And what factors will contribute to the ultimate acceptance and success of 3D in the future?

5 reasons why 3D is here to stay (this time)


1.  3D is cool.

The viewing experience is truly unique and engages the viewer more directly with the scene.  Everything on screen just looks and feels more intense, more interactive, more “real”.  Think of the picture quality and general “wow” factor differences between regular TV and HD TV.  Multiply HD by 3 and you get 3D.  Simple math.

2.  Glasses-free technology

Polarized glasses, the kind used at movie theaters, and active-shutter glasses, the kind used at home, both work well but many consumers have balked at the thought of having to always wear glasses to enjoy 3D.  The glasses-free TVs, portable devices and computer displays that already coming to market are the foundation for the 3D platform and critical to the success of the format.

3.  Content

From 3D IMAX movies to portable 3D video games, content creators and manufacturers are pushing 3D across many different channels which gives the consumer many choices on what to watch and how to watch it.  Cable and satellite providers are steadily adding content to their on-demand services and 3D programming is expanding (ESPN 3D goes 24 hrs/day on Feb 14th).

4.  Sports

If you like sports in HD, you will love sports in 3D.  The added visual depth and well-planned camera angles make you feel as if you are watching the event in person, at the stadium, and always from the best possible vantage point.  Combine this enhanced experience with the overall popularity of sports in general and consumers are compelled to make the 3D leap.

5.  Downward price pressure

Technology evolves quickly and the 3D industry is no exception.  As manufacturers are competing for consumers, the overall cost of 3DTVs, cameras, and associated products is decreasing.  Once a certain price level is reached more consumers will start to buy in and the platform will only grow from there.

The current viewing experience is much more than adequate and the technology is evolving rapidly.  Having had the opportunity to spend some time with a 3D TV and enjoy various types of 3D content including movies, animated films, and sporting events, I’ve come away with a few observations.  First, animated content seems to be far and away the best representation of the 3D experience.  Live action movies are great too but the images aren’t as crisp and the 3D effect isn’t as obvious as with animated content.  Sports in 3D have the same drawbacks as live action films, but the networks are using camera angles that help accentuate the 3D effect and really show depth within the scene.  It should be noted that I only experienced 3D content using glasses, and some of the limitations of live action 3D content may not exist with the glasses-free technology.

My gut feeling is that by the time glasses-free 3D TVs come to market (within the next 1-2 years), with the continued proliferation of 3D content, the mainstream consumer will be tempted enough to take the plunge.  In the same way that HD technology was introduced and accepted in the early 2000s, 3D is following a similar path, and I’m excited to sit back and enjoy the show!


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