Is 3D TV a Fad or the Wave of the Future?

eHow Tech Blog

With the onslaught of 3D movies over the past several years, it was inevitable that the technology would make its way into our homes. The question has become, however, is it really a technology that is going to stay with us, warranting an upgrade at this time.

HDTV has been with us for some time now, but many homes are still in the process of upgrading to that technology.  While some homes have already replaced the television that adorns their family room, those in bedrooms and other secondary rooms are only tending to be replaced when the old tube-style TV sets wear out.

And it is this issue that could keep 3D from becoming the wave of the future.  Many families have only recently invested in a new TV set, and the idea of swapping it out just to take advantage of a technology in its infancy will put many people off the idea.  If they are going to invest in a 3D TV, it is unlikely they will put it in a child’s room, and it is also unlikely they will move a 55-inch plasma into their bedroom when they replace the primary television set with a 3D model.

Then there are the additional costs that come along with a 3D set from needing to get a Blu-ray player that is capable of outputting the signal to purchasing enough glasses for the entire family to be able to watch a program at the same time.

Another issue is that the glasses are expensive as well as cumbersome, and have also been known to induce headaches.  None of which makes for a pleasant experience.


While manufacturers are working towards glasses-free technology, it just isn’t here yet, and it could be several years before it is commercially viable.  That is one of the main things that will keep 3D squarely in the “fad” zone for the time being.  If the television manufacturers are willing to hold onto the idea until glasses-free options are available — and they can reach a higher installed user base — this might very well catch on.  Everyone needs to remember, however, that these are businesses, and they are in it to make money.  If 3D isn’t selling at the rate they are comfortable with, then they will dump it and move on to the next thing.


Many homes are filled with products that didn’t catch on rapidly and companies ended up leaving them with no support.  Do you have an HD-DVD player?  Perhaps a Laser Disc player is still sitting in your closet.  Remember how the MiniDisc was supposed to replace the CD?  For now, it’s easy to see how 3D televisions could join this list of technologies.


There is one upside to the 3D television conundrum: They have beautiful 2D images.  Even if 3D goes away, you still have a great looking screen and beautiful images.  If you are in the market for a new TV and you can afford to drop the couple extra hundred dollars to buy one, you can view it as future-proofing your purchase in case the technology does end up having some legs.  If it goes away, you’re only out a little bit, but I would not recommend buying a 3D set just to have it for now.

Image Credit: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

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