4 Reasons the 3D TV Movement is Already Dead
2013 has seen the further decline of the 3D television industry. For example, Disney recently announced the discontinuation of its ESPN 3D channel by the end of the year. It appears that this technology has gone the way of Livestrong bracelets and Friendster, but none of this should really come as a surprise. After all, 3D TV was never a good idea.
All the fun of wearing glasses, with none of that "improved eyesight" bullshit.
3D Is Terrible on the Eyes (Particularly 3D TV)
There was never a time in human history when 3D didn't feel like getting your eyes punched by a swarm of hateful invisible pixies. When the technology was first being developed for the home market, companies found that 1 in 4 viewers was experiencing everything from eye strain to headaches to an expressed desire to vomit.
It doesn't take a doctorate in statistics to realize that a product that makes 25 percent of its users painfully ill isn't going to be something that people will gravitate toward, especially not for five hours a day, which is the average amount of time people spend watching television.
Glasses-free 3D is much more convenient, so long as "convenient" means "you have to stand in one very specific place or it doesn't work."
Again, we're not talking about 3D in general. As one study pinpointed, the negative effects were especially enhanced for people viewing 3D televisions as opposed to watching a 3D movie in a theater. When the demand for 3D TV rose in 2012, so did the number of people going to see optometrists. Why? Because all those 3D TVs were hurting people's fucking eyes.
The damn things even come with warning labels specifically directed at children under 7, because their vision is still developing. That's right: Plopping your kids in front of Shrek's latest 3D adventure full of antiquated pop culture references and the most irritating voices in cartoon history is permanently affecting their eyesight (as well as their intelligence).
It's already too late for these people. Death is the kindest thing we can do for them.
Most People Who Bought a 3D TV Didn't Actually Use the 3D
Despite the rise in 3D TV sales in 2012, only 115,000 American homes were actually using them to watch 3D stations, which is a number so small that it doesn't even register as a measurable data sample for Nielsen ratings. More people bought Paris Hilton's CD than watched a 3D broadcast.
Ironically, a 2010 study by the Nielsen Co. found that 9 out of 10 participants had absolutely no interest in wearing 3D glasses around the house, which as you may notice was a full two years before TV manufacturers decided to be surprised that nobody really wanted to watch 3D television. For some reason, the average person just doesn't want to wear uncomfortable headgear every second they spend in front of the TV.
Some of us would rather eat these than wear them for 90 minutes.
Instead of taking that as a sign, companies pushed ahead anyway, offering their product to entire households packaged with only two pairs of $50 glasses. At that price, it would cost you a thousand fucking dollars to have a group of friends over to watch the Super Bowl in 3D.
So why the brief rise in 3D TV sales? We just like having new things. But the purchase of those things doesn't necessarily mean we'll use them, which is why that Kindle is collecting dust on your nightstand.
And why that Gatling gun gets even less use than your Dance Dance Revolution pads.
3D Makes Gaming Worse
When you take into account that they're a) bad for children, b) irritating on eyes, and c) distracting to wear, it's kind of no wonder that people didn't want a pair of cumbersome sunglasses stuck to their faces while they were trying to make sniper shots in Call of Duty. Anything that gets between us and the screen is one more variable that we'd rather do away with, especially when a pair of glasses costs as much as a brand-new game and actually lowers the resolution and frame rate of what we're playing.
And it's not as if the game companies didn't know this. Back when PlayStation unveiled a $500 3D display, they weren't doing it because they thought it was the cutting edge of the industry -- Sony's electronic branch required PlayStation to integrate 3D technology in order to stimulate sales.
If you force someone else to do a half-assed job of building it, they will come.
Now that the interest in 3D is waning, PlayStation isn't even mentioning it as a feature in their upcoming system. Even Nintendo, a company that owes some of its success to 3D gaming, has admitted that 3D is more of a novelty than anything else, which is a pretty bold statement from a company that makes all of its money off of novelties.
There Was Simply Never a Demand for the Technology, Ever
Believe it or not, the first commercial 3D movie premiered in the 1920s, played once, and quickly dropped off the face of the Earth. Since then, Hollywood has attempted to bring it back every few decades, first in the '50s and then in the '70s.
Immediately after this picture was taken, everyone here died of typhus.
And it failed both times. Why? Because 3D simply doesn't make anything better. People in the 1950s were getting the same goddamned headaches we get today. Asking consumers to pay more for a feature that makes them sick is a terrible business model for pretty much any industry. And yet 3D keeps coming back, and we have people like the CEO of DreamWorks Animation calling it the "greatest innovation that's happened for the movie theaters and for moviegoers since color," despite the fact that the technology is actually older than color film.
And so, in 2010, when a worldwide Nielsen poll said less than 10 percent of people were willing to buy a 3D TV the following year, Disney took that as a sign to create a sports network specifically for 3D viewing in 2011, which is the same network that just called it quits because nobody was watching it. You didn't need 3D glasses to see that one coming, fellas.