3-D TV is dead! Long live 3-D TV

A woman views three-dimensional images through special glasses on a Panasonic 3-D TV.

Not so long ago on the scale of consumer electronics, there was great hope for 3-D TV. And yet these days the future of 3-D TV is dim.

A month ago, ESPN announced it was killing their 3-D programming by the end of this year. Then, shortly after announcing its plans to cover this year's Wimbledon in three dimensions, the BBC just announced it's suspending its three-dimensional broadcasts as well. A major reason 3-D has failed with consumers is mere logistics, according to Carolyn Giardina, contributing tech editor at The Hollywood Reporter.

"When we watch TV at home it's not the experience that you have when you're sitting in a movie theater," she says. "You're cooking; you have a tablet or a laptop in your hand; you're talking to people; you're at a party. It's not conducive to have to put glasses on in order to watch it."

The problem lies not just in your living room, though, but also with the content creators.

"It's a chicken-and-egg scenario," argues Giardina. "You need the set penetration but you also need the available content."

If the companies aren't creating lots of 3-D content audiences want to watch at home, the plan was bound to fizzle. Still, Giardina is hopeful for the future of 3-D TV -- in new forms that we haven't even heard of yet.

"From the beginning, we really haven't seen the consumer interest that the consumer electronics industry was hoping to see," she says. "But there are some technologies coming along. I think we'll start to see the first glasses-free 3-D TV sets within the year."

"Not today, but further out, I could see depth being part of the home viewing experience," Giardina says.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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