by Graham Pierrepoint
For some time, 3D has been making something of a mainstream comeback. Widely regarded until recent years as something of a cheesy gimmick, its return to cinemas as a viable business option was largely a result of pioneering IMAX technology and the success of movies such as James Cameron’s Avatar, which was responsible for using the technology to its full potential. For many, buying a 3D ticket over a standard purchase is still very much worthwhile – but for others, it’s a case of buying into a headache or steering clear! 3D has seeped into other markets, too – with Nintendo opting for the model to revamp their popular DS handheld gaming output, and with a number of big names putting 3D television into production. It was a brave, but perhaps worthwhile decision – at least, for a while.
There has been news in the past few weeks that two major manufacturers will be ceasing the production of 3D TV, joining the ranks of Samsung and Sharp in refusing to budge any more of the ultra-definition units beyond those already on the market. These two firms are none other than Sony and LG, arguably two of the biggest frontrunners in home entertainment technology. 3D TVs generally fetch prices ranging into the thousands – so where did it all go wrong for the once-promising and rather lucrative-seeming technology?
Many advise that the main issues facing 3D TV were that of functionality and need for use. A number of calibration and usability problems have plagued even the most popular or seemingly impressive of devices, and beyond this, there simply isn’t the available 3D content to use for it. While 3D Blu-Ray can be used alongside certain premium channels, it seems that the effort simply hasn’t been worth it for the vast majority of households. In perhaps a surprise move, curved televisions – which some thought wouldn’t stand the test of time over 3D units – have gone on to more moderate success, and continue to roll off the production line. It would seem, currently, that 4K quality and Ultra HD are the routes to TV success in the home entertainment field.
Where will this leave current TV viewers? While it’s unclear exactly how this will affect current programming nor the production of 3D Blu-Ray discs, it may be time to consider opting for a hardware alternative long-term, certainly if even the biggest names are to cease supporting the devices (which has not yet been advised, merely a ceasing of production). All in all, 3D had a good run in the living room – but will it stand the test of time in the cinema? With James Cameron now itching to get four sequels to his landmark Avatar to the big screen, one man certainly hopes so.