The rumors are true: 3D television appears to be dead. But is there nothing anyone can do about it?

Once the hope of the TV industry, which entertained wild dreams of introducing a three dimensional broadcast TV in every living room, it didn’t even make a showing at the Consumer Electronics Show last year. This extravagant Las Vegas convention favored by industry innovators is often regarded by technology analysts as the best place to get clues on emerging tech-related trends.

Surprisingly, the death of 3D TV was not attributable to the reasons one might assume. The issue was not the technology, but lack of consumer interest. Apparently, consumers are not enamored by the idea of sitting in their living rooms wearing dorky 3D glasses.

Even if they could be convinced that this would be the new cool, there was another problem: being able to persuade broadcasters to air quality 3D entertainment.

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New hope for a maligned technology

All things considered, the technology has been unfairly maligned. Still the revolution to introduce a new way of looking at the world through television sets may not be entirely over.

The Consumer Electronics Show demo in 2012 introduced an idea that’s a promising variation on the theme: 3D TV sans dorky glasses. In fact, big TV manufacturers such as Vizio are now offering working prototypes.

With no glasses to worry about while watching TV in a group setting, people have shown less resistance to 3D TV, and broadcasters are more willing to consider upgrading their product line. In short, there are fewer headaches, both technically and literally.

So the question becomes when the service can move forward. When will we be able to watch glasses-free 3D TV in our homes? According to Dolby, it could happen as early as next year. A clear picture is now technologically possible.

A few glitches to resolve

The technology is not entirely flawless. But cutting-edge television manufacturers believe that the glitches can be ironed out by early 2015. Currently, 3D only works at half the normal television resolution; but by application of a 4K ultra-high definition, 3D television sets can also be made more affordable.

Another issue that’s currently being resolved is the noticeably darker coloration of 3D televisions. Special glasses with a film overlay used to compensate for this phenomenon. But now manufacturers are considering introducing a filter in the set to preserve the structural integrity of image quality.

Developing consumer appeal

Once the technological issues have been worked out, will consumers be receptive? Do people care enough to make the idea finally work?

Everyone hopes the answer may be a cautious “yes.” It should catch on, yes, but it may take some time. Dolby believes that the current level of enthusiasm for 3D TV in China will eventually be recreated in the United States.

Americans may have avoided the technology to date, but if they’re tempted by products of sufficient quality, the concept of 3D TV has a good chance of going mainstream.

 

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