Karthik Narayan, Executive Producer, Discovery Communications India

"TV makers decided to dump the 3D-viewing option, focusing their efforts on implementing HDR and improving 4K resolution performance, without keeping 3D in the picture."

All major TV makers have stopped incorporating 3D functionality into their sets, with LG and Sony reportedly following the likes of Samsung, Sharp, and Hisense by opting not to make it a feature of their latest televisions.

A lot of things came together to end 3D TV before it even started.

A few reasons which might have led to this to this are being probed further.

Poorly Timed Launch

Between 2007 and 2009 millions of consumers either purchased new HDTVs to meet the new broadcast requirements, or analog-to-digital TV broadcast converters so that they could keep their older analog TVs working a little while longer. This meant that when 3D TV was introduced in 2010, most consumers were not ready to discard their just-purchased TVs, and reach into their wallets again so soon, just to get a 3D TV.

3D TV Dimness

Another problem with 3D TV is that 3D images are much dimmer than 2D images. Thus, TV makers made the big mistake of not incorporating increased light output technologies into 3D TVs to compensate.

Beginning in 2015, with the introduction of HDR technology, TVs began to be made with increased light output capability. This advancement would have benefited the 3D-viewing experience, but in a counterintuitive move, TV makers decided to dump the 3D-viewing option, focusing their efforts on implementing HDR and improving 4K resolution performance, without keeping 3D in the picture.

3D, Live TV, and Streaming

3D is very difficult to implement for live TV events. To provide 3D TV programming, two channels are required, so that those who did not have 3D TVs could still watch programs normally on one channel, in addition to those wanting to watch in 3D on another. This means an increased cost for broadcast networks having to provide separate feeds to local stations, and the need for local stations to maintain two separate channels for transmission to viewers.

Although multiple channels are easier to be played on cable/satellite, many consumers were not interested in paying any extra required fees, so offerings were limited. After some initial 3D cable and satellite offerings, content providers such as ESPN dropped out.

Also, although Netflix and some other internet-streaming content channels provide some 3D content, 3DGo, a 3D-streaming service offered on Vizio, LG, Samsung, and Panasonic 3D TVs, which provided 3D movies from several movie studios, discontinued its service in 2016.

Retail Sales Problems

At first there was lot of retail sales hype and 3D demonstration displays, but after the initial push, if one walked into a lot of retail stores looking for a 3D TV, the sales people no longer provided well-informed presentations, and 3D glasses were often missing or, in the case of active shutter glasses, not charged or missing batteries.

The result: consumers who would have been interested in purchasing a 3D TV would just walk out of the store and never come back, not understanding what was available, how it worked, how to best optimize a 3D TV for the best viewing experience, and what else they needed to enjoy the 3D experience at home.

Also, sometimes it was not communicated well that all 3D TVs can also display images in standard 2D. In other words, you can use a 3D TV just like any other TV in cases where 3D content is not available, if 2D viewing is desired or more appropriate.

So, I guess what started off as a Juggernaut model hauled and pushed by the force and reception of 3D movies would have sustained itself if a few parameters would have been effectively worked upon, although many may even feel that it is a better idea to leave 3D for the big screen.