Is 3D TV In Decline?
I was really interested to stumble upon an article from the BBC over in the U.K that suggested the future of 3D TV was not looking so good. And, they came up with some very interesting, if somewhat varied figures to support their case.
Now the first thing I will say is that their article suggested it was 3D generically (so including cinema, games and TV) as opposed to just 3D TV.
3D Viewing Is Down
Nonetheless, the results were certainly not encouraging! Just two years ago, when Avatar hit the big screens, filmgoers watched 78% of their movies in the U.K in 3D. That has dropped dramatically to just 40% now. Avatar was supposed to be the launching pad for 3D. I only saw it in 3D on a TV and not at the movies, but I was impressed!
The BBC also cite the price crash on Nintendo 3DS consoles as further evidence. The price has been reduced by £100 in the U.K. That’s all well and good, but, in my opinion, this is a very different market. I don’t believe you can compare 3DS sales to 3D TV sales in any way shape or form.
3D TV Sales Sluggish in U.K
What is worrying though is sluggish sales of 3D TV sets across Great Britain.
The same is happening here in the U.S as well. Certainly Europe has major economic problems again with the situation in the Eurozone. That is certainly dragging the U.K down with it. And, of course, we have our own well documented economic problems here as well. But is that the cause of the slump in 3D TV sales?
The BBC article also highlights research from California State University which found the following. “People who watch 3D TV are three times more likely to suffer from headache, eye strain or blurred vision”. Again, my own experience suggests that is not the case. However, I don’t currently have a 3D TV myself, so I have not watched 3D content all night, night after night.
Research Into 3D
Also, the fact there is still relatively little 3D content perhaps makes these findings a little redundant. Yes you may get a headache if you watch 3D TV for 12 hours straight. But I would suggest you would maybe get the same headache from 12 hours watching standard TV or gaming. You have to compare eggs with eggs is all I am saying!
It has also been suggested that 3D has yet to “get it right” and consequently it was inevitable that there would be a lull after the initial spike of
interest. A Guy called Chris Park from Vision 3 in the U.K (they advise the film industry on matters 3D) has stated he believes not even movies like Avatar got 3D “right”. Although he doesn’t say exactly how.
New 3D Techniques Coming
He does go on to say that, in his view, 3D has not been used anywhere near to its full potential. Maybe this is so and reports coming out of production on the new Scorsese movie Hugo suggest that Martin has taken 3D to a new level. Certainly Sir Ben Kingsley (one of the film’s stars) has been lavish in his praise stating that “Marty (Scorsese) has pushed 3D round a corner”. I understand there will be some new 3D techniques like taking you “in” to the middle of a crowd of people.
My personal view is that Cinema TV will push 3D on somewhat. Certainly I plan to get a Cinema 3D TV next year as they don’t need the clunky active shutter glasses. And the glasses were my main grip. Passive glasses also cut out much of the 3D blur that active shutter glasses can give.
So, is 3D on the decline? I think not, it’s just taking a breather while the next wave of buyers take stock of the 3D scene to date. Ys perhaps the making of 3D content does need to mature, and I’m sure it will. But as this and 3D TV technology continues to move forward, I am confident 3D TV sales will too in the medium term.