3D sure "feels" dead. When I finished writing this article, I logged into Adobe Stock to search for "3D TV" and what few results I got were of TV that had thick plastic bezels and small screens by today's standards. It's remarkable to see how far TVs have come since 3D was popular, but stock art showing stuff popping out of TVs while glasses-wearing families stare in amazement is as rare as finding a TV that supports 3D.
But here's the thing, you may think that the format is dead, but it isn't. This is probably the case because theatrical releases continue to be produced in 3D. That is why right now you can pick up a copy of the new Dune in 3D Blu-ray. That's not a dead format!
TVs may have given up on 3D, but it continues to be a staple of home theater, projector makers have not stopped including the capability. And you can pick up a 3D capable player for under a hundred bucks, so the barrier for entry is rather low. The only problem is that nobody makes a 3D-compatible TV anymore. And this is a shame because TVs have finally evolved into what they really need to be to deliver a sublime 3D viewing experience. 120 Hz panels, extremely high brightness, high contrast, this is all wish list stuff.
Now, I don't expect a return to passive 3D because that requires adding a layer to the actual panel. But I don't understand why active 3D is not at least an option, the LCD shutter glasses that make it work are already out there and affordable and actually pretty much ubiquitous. And as far as I know, not much is required to get them to work with the display, synchronization through Bluetooth is the standard for DLP link glasses that are the most common form of 3D glasses in the world the projectors.
While fans of 3D movies are perhaps a niche, collections of 3D movies are out there and I would guess that any one TV maker that was brave enough to put out a quality set that supports 3D would garner the upgrade dollars of many fans of the format. Maybe just presented as a limited-edition, maybe just in one size (I recommend 85 inches). Or hey, maybe sure, do a passive 3D special edition, that's the dream, right? A 4K TV rendering passive full HD 3D? Lightweight glasses, but only charging, all that? I'm just letting my imagination run wild.
But, what about video games? Let's revisit with 3D could be like now that we have PlayStation five and Xbox series X. It strikes me as being a lot like VR, people dismiss it because the technology to deliver the true experience that becomes transcendental is lagging behind the hype. But now the technology is actually there, 3D could live up to its hype, and VR will live up to its hype, and actually, we need to remember that VR is 3D and that you can render a portal view of VR in 3D on a flat-panel screen.
I don't know if this is making sense to you, or if it's coming across as crazy talk, but that's the feeling I have, that there is a hidden opportunity for whichever TV maker is bold enough to seize upon this opportunity and point out that not only is 3D not actually dead, but the time has finally come where TVs can do it justice, as opposed to just dedicated home theaters and commercial cinemas.
What can you do if you want a TV-like viewing experience that supports 3D? Fortunately, a new crop of 4K ultra-short throw projectors have emerged as a way to put a really big screen into the living room, and some of these projectors also support 3D.
With UST projection, the projectors sit underneath the screen, just inches away from the wall, and it projects upward onto a specialized ultra-short-throw ambient light rejecting screen. These screens are designed to aggressively reject ambient light that comes from the sides and above (which is oftentimes a white ceiling) while reflecting light that comes from the projector below towards the viewer. The result is an improvement in perceived contrast that allows these projectors to operate in environments with some ambient light without totally washing out.
In order to properly enjoy 3D movies, you are going to shut off the lights and try to create a home theater-like environment. But the cool thing is that these UST projectors are fairly bright because they are designed to work in mixed lighting, not just a dark room as would be the case with a dedicated home theater projector. This gives the new USTs the extra horsepower needed to create 3D images that don't have the dimness viewers had come to associate with the format in the past. Not as bright as 3D would be on a current-generation UHD TV, but still superior to what people who experienced it some years ago might think is normal for the format.
Remember the original Avatar? It remains the most successful movie of all time. It single-handedly created a renaissance for 3D and prompted all the major TV makers to add 3D to their TVs.
The first sequel to Avatar has been delayed numerous times, Which may have led to this sense that it'll never arrive. But, it is slated for release on December 16th of this year, And, three additional sequels are scheduled to premiere in December of 2024, 2026, and 2028.
I can't actually predict the future, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the 3D in these Avatar sequels will be state-of-the-art and that it will be the preferred way to experience the film. We're talking about the champion of the state-of-the-art cinema, James Cameron!
Will three Avatar sequels be able to achieve what the original did, and force TV makers to acknowledge the allure of 3D? I hope so because as part of the process of reviewing UST projectors, I have watched some 3D movies like Black Panther, Dredd, and Sin City: A Dame to Die For. 3D movies look better than ever at home, on a big screen. Done right, 3D is as far from a gimmick as you can get, it lets you see details and textures that cannot be rendered in 2D.
Perhaps everything I'm discussing here is simply wishful thinking. But, the marketing for Avatar has not really kicked in yet. And sure, it may well be that the way people experience 3D going forward is through VR headsets, and nobody is going to bother with the "glasses and a screen" way of viewing it, except maybe for diehard home theater enthusiasts? That could happen, sure. I'm certain that's what James Cameron would ultimately prefer. But to me, it's just all the more reason why some TV maker should seriously consider giving fans of 3D a TV to upgrade to.
The current best "bang for the buck" UST projector that supports 3D is the 2500-lumen BenQ V7050i ($3299). It is a tremendous UST projector for non-3D as well, but I can personally vouch that it offers flawless 3D playback as well.
A special edition 4k 3D TV would sell like crazy!
I couldn't agree more I have a 2017 4k Sony passive tv 55 inches and it's a treat to watch , only use it sparingly for watching my 3d Bluray collection , I think it's a shame that no one sees the potential of 3d , when even now all 3d blurays get sold out in weeks upon their release , heres hoping somone brings them back 👍🏼
I own samsung 65" curved 3D tv, and I still use it to watch 3D movies. It uses active glasses, but the picture quality is amazing and the samsung tv upscales the picture. I also have a 120 hz Optima UHD65/144" screen with computer and Nvidia graphics hooked up that I play 3D movies on. Again absolutely stunning. But the added brightness and upscaling of the Samsung Tv makes 3D look better. The size of the screen for the projector has its own wow factor for 3D. Each the tv and projector offer their own unique aspects to watching 3D. I whole heartedly agree, someone should bring back 3D to tv's with 4k and at least an 85 inch screen. I would buy one.
I awake every morning only to hope I’ll see an article announcing that 3D is back.
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Excuse the typos but my voice recognition system is a bit faulty . The website is 3DMCScom. I would appreciate members of your organization and fans of 3-D to check it out as expanding such content and high-def in today’s more advanced electronic market could allow 3-D TVs to become a staple again. Our technology is highly affordable and with reasonably play priced TVs could help revive the 3D market.
I have been involved in developing 3-D for you Fish as a tool to teach minimally invasive surgery presently used mostly in today. The capacity to teach this and amplify 3-D to use is an important asset in medicine and surgery. The problem we have to become more pervasive as the lack of 3-D TVs. I have four sets of LG passive as well as Samsung active sense for which I used over the last decade. The market became a disaster as it was no Contant to create major interest. But our unit the 3-D MCAS an expensive conversion system allows high definition conversion at a world-class level of all to Decon tent to high DEF 3-D. If this was available years back and there was substantial Contant The market would have been different. With increasing VR and higher resolutions with our system which can make a call to Dee digital sources with her cable or photography into actual 3-D we believe we could help reinvigorates us technology and make it more widespread allowing TV companies to make more high definition passive systems.
It's not just 3d but 21:9 screen too... I got both of those with Vizio CinemaWide...
Count me in for a passive 3D TV ca 100 inch. Happy to pay $1000 more than comparable model without 3D
I’ve enjoyed passive 3D more than active 3D glasses. I had a 3D Samsung TV when 3D TVs first came out and the flickering, the on an off issues, and the constant charging of glasses really made watching 3D movies too much work. I’m thinking that may have been a contributing factor into why 3D TVs didn’t sit well with most consumers. It just wasn’t convenient for the majority. With 4K we are now able to get full 1080p resolution from our 3D Blu Rays, but the 3D trend ended at around this time. I think if they had waited till around the 2020s to release 3D movies and offered passive 3D as the standard, with active glasses for select models, then this technology and trend would have been a whole different. I guess that’s what happens when these companies rush a product in order to meet financial goals rather than time the usefulness, convenience, and proper technological requirements for the average consumer.
Same here! MY LG 65 inch C1 model is still going strong, minus a 1”x1” burn in from playing an xbox game a bit too long. It’s such a precious display that I’ve had to resort to not using it for anything other than 3D movies at this point. I would kill for an updated 3D TV with the latest HDMI standards, HDR, etc. I’m thinking that VR is going to allow for the next reincarnation of 3D to be honest and although that’s exciting in its own right, it’s a shame. Call me old school, but I enjoy watching movies on my couch more often than not.
Exactly, the Sega Scope worked with any CRT TV, which had consistent sub-microsecond timing. All you need to do is compensate for ping. And you got a universal add-on shutter kit. I suggest using audio inputs and outputs to measure the delay live. Whether 3.5 mm or HDMI ARC or somewhere in between. I'd like to see my CRT VGA play 3d Blu Rays.
Why add it to JUST OLED TVS? A timing based SegaScope-style 3d add on kit will work for ANY TV. You just have to compensate for ping times. You can do that by using the audio in and audio out / ARC.
Actually my mom gets 3d headaches in theaters (passive) but not on my Playstation 3d TV (active). The true test is if she can sit through one movie without feeling 3d-sick. Preliminary tests show she stopped watching Wreck It Ralph 3d because she didn't understand the retro gaming vibe, not because of the 3d.effects sickening her. She lasted long than The Hobbit 1 in the theater. Bybthe way I notice the high speed film, but not so much the 3d in the theater, and it's beyter at home. sega-Style 3d add-on kits will work with any tv (assuming you can deal with the ping of modern tvs ). Using the ARC/audio out. You can have a universal add-on
Hello. I talk about 3d solutions. I know there was a Sega Scope 3d tgat wirked with any tv bbthe issue for today is timing. Why not harness a timung signal fed into the audio and harvested out the HDMI ARC or aidio out. If this suncs lips, it should sync any shutter 3d timing. Also tv shows need a 2d compatible 3d. The 2012 Leela Bowl where people protested against a 3d super bowl because people with no 3d were locked out of the Super Bowl. The 3d broadcast standard needs to be 2d compatible, with an encoded second eye. Since most TV shows prefer to produce in 30 Hz, let's take advantage of that and use the unused bandwidth for the hidden second eye . Finally why aren't 2d compatible 3d Blu Rays used more often. All you have to do to make 3d into 2d is poke one eye out , like Thor in Ragnarok.
Hi there, so happy to read this article. It’s spot on in my view. We’ve been working on revitalizing active 3D on all future consumer OKED displays for the past 3 years. Please visit my website and reach out if you have any questions!
I completely agree... have an LG passive and its awesome.. not a fan of ACTIVE.... the flickering/3d effect is not as good as the PASSIVE 3D (trust me i demoed every TV Sony/Samsung/etc) and even reps were like ACTIVE is what sucks/caused headaches/nausea/etc... the standard passive has been around for ages and is still used in Disney/etc.. for their stuff... i wish they would bring it back.. i have tons of 3D blurays.. and I pray my TV never goes out..lol!!!
I’m still using a 2017 LG OLED as it has passive 3D, and keep hoping a manufacturer realizes there is an eager niche market for passive 3D tvs.
This article is right on, my thoughts EXACTLY! I don't really have anything to add really, it's like you took every thought I had out of my head and put it here. I think it's just a matter of time that 3D will take off again, but I think it will take glasses free 3D to really stick. But ya, all tvs should do active 3d, it's a no brainer. Nice job on the article.