Nobody Is Excited About 3D

Reflecting on discussions I had on the topic of 3DTV at CEDIA Expo last week, a clear trend emerges: beyond the official pitches the exhibitors were giving during their booth tours, no one is really that keen on 3D. One bon mot that swept across Twitter last week was: “Too bad LED and 3D came out at the same time — the wrong technology is being promoted.”

The ennui is especially marked among dealers. When I was on the show floor polling their opinions on the demonstrations they’d seen, opinions ranged from “it sucked” to “it was better than the others I saw, but it still kind of sucked” and all points in between. In the evenings, after a few drinks, their opinions got even more candid, with more profanity.

But even in off the record conversations with people on the manufacturing side, it’s clear that many of them would rather be selling something else. Instead, it’s a sort of nuclear proliferation: nobody wants to build and sell 3D, but they’re afraid that everyone else is doing it, so they have to as well, or they risk missing the boat, but they sure don’t like it. One distributor I spoke with before the show said, “We’re going to see the entertainment industry fail a third time with 3D: It happened in the ‘50s, it happened in the ‘80s, and it’s going to happen again.”

So what will it take to make 3D viable? On that, industry insiders are equally in agreement: go back to the drawing board, lose the glasses, and hammer out a single, un-confusing standard for making glasses-free 3D displays work.