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How is Virtual Reality Succeeding Where 3D TV Failed?

If you’re looking at virtual reality (VR) as good for gaming alone, think again. Although VR may have started out as a sort of a “descendant” of the 3D technology, VRs are currently being used in the medical field by researchers and tech companies. In other words, this kind of technology can provide diverse uses that would be helpful in several fields of specialization.

On the flip side, 3D TV is slowly sliding down a slippery slope, and this may be caused by the success of virtual reality. An article from CNET has even declared 3D TV dead.

The Death of 3D TV

The release of the 2009 movie “Avatar” has pushed television manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon of producing 3D TVs. A lot of people find it amazing to watch a video in a more immersive way.

However, despite its supposed greatness, the rise and success of 3D TV was short-lived. In fact, most manufacturers have already stopped producing 3D TV products.

What happened?

Movie studios started shooting 3D movies, which were very much welcomed by moviegoers. Television manufacturers such as Panasonic and LG took advantage of the hype, thereby producing their own 3D TV for the home. While some would have seen it great, other consumers did not feel it was worth it.

Wrong timing

The release of 3D TV technology came at a bad time. In 2009, DTV transition enables over-the-air TV broadcasting from analog to digital.  Because of this, millions of consumers bought new HDTVs to meet the new broadcast requirements so that they can keep watching their favorite shows.

When 3D TV was introduced a year after, most consumers did not like the thought of discarding their newly purchased HDTVs to welcome the new 3D TV tech.

Impractical 3D glasses

In order to enjoy watching on 3D TV, you should wear special glasses to appreciate the 3D effect. What made it quite a turn off to some is that TV manufacturers have varying standards on how to view 3D content. In short, 3D glasses produced by one manufacturer cannot be used for a 3D TV of another brand because they use different systems.

To make things worse, 3D glasses can cost as much as $100 a pair. For a family to enjoy watching 3D videos together, they will have to buy several 3D glasses.

Additional equipment needed

On top of this, a true 3D viewing experience may even require consumers to invest in a 3D-enable Blu-ray Disc player or use a new 3D-enabled cable or satellite box. Furthermore, if you wish to watch movies online, you needed to make sure that your new 3DTV is compatible with an internet service that offers 3D streaming content.

The same goes for those who have a home theater setup where video signals are routed through a home theater receiver: This requires the new receiver to be compatible with 3D video signals from any connected 3D Blu-ray Disc player, cable, or satellite box.

Poor picture quality

3D images are much dimmer than 2D since TV manufacturers failed to incorporate increased light output technologies into 3D TVs.

Some TV manufacturers were able to produce TV units that allows for 2D-to-3D TV conversion. Unfortunately, the major lapse here is that the picture quality suffered so much.

Lack of sales and marketing support

When 3D TV started dwindling in sales, it didn’t take long for retail stores to put the products at a lower priority than other hot-ticket TV units. As a result, some sales personnel may lack the drive to provide demos for people who were inquiring about 3D TV.

There may be times when some retail sales staff have insufficient knowledge about the product, or the glasses were not charged, or the batteries were missing. The lack of support from retail outlets put a bad light onto 3D TVs, which ultimately turned off a lot of potential buyers.

The “want” isn’t too strong

Not everyone may have the interest to watch 3D content. Although some TV manufacturers have attempted to create glasses that can convert 3D images into 2D, this was not something that the consumers were happy about since it is an optional and unnecessary purchase.

Preference to watch 3D on cinema screens

Watching 3D content is better viewed on a video projector or cinema. Otherwise, watching it on a small television may not feel so magical or immersive

Virtual Reality Soars Up

With these major setbacks of 3D TV, consumers are now more inclined to settle with VR.

Although VR seems to be riding on a similar hype as 3D years ago, industry executives are raising their stakes and are firmly believing that VRs have a better long-term outcome than the fate of 3Ds.

The need to purchase 3D glasses was an issue back then, and became one of the many impediments to owning a 3D TV. However, despite the cost of VRs, it’s strange to think that Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive are very much supported by consumers. Despite the need to wear a large contraption that can be uncomfortable at times, consumers continue to rave about these new devices.

Although there may have been a slight decrease in VR sales this year, it is still projected to reach more than $28 billion in 2020. This figure means that as the years pass, virtual reality will continuously dominate the gaming world despite its costs.

In terms of trumping traditional TV, virtual reality may still be miles away. In fact, 2D television and virtual reality may be two extremely different media that don’t really compete with each other. So go ahead and buy a Ultra HD 4K TV for your home and perhaps a VR set for your gaming needs.

You can have a quick look at this review to check the best 40-inch TVs available today.

According to a research by Magid Consulting, only about a third of consumers aged 18-64 have tried VR. Apparently, 84% of those who used VR on their mobile devices would recommend the technology to others, while 86% of those who’ve used it on a PC or game console would do the same.

Consumer behavior these days is far different from the time 3D was launched. For starters, game apps developed these days are much better than before, and a lot of VR games have already been launched. Additionally, although VRs started out as expensive, some manufacturers have lowered down their costs to encourage more consumers to purchase their products.

Only time can tell if virtual reality technology is going to last long and become an industry standard. For now, let’s all enjoy virtual reality while it’s still hot off the presses.

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My name is Tim Baker and I am a blogger and contributor to various tech and lifestyle blogs. A proud father of 2, I am a technology enthusiast and a keen follower of many tech blogs.

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