When they first showed up on the scene, 3D televisions were touted as the next leap in in-home entertainment. There were rumors of movies and programming being filmed entirely in 3D. Most new TVs have 3D capabilities and even include 3D glasses. However, the reality has not lived up to the expectation and most of the predicted 3D content providers have taken a step back. So are 3D TVs even worth it anymore?
Upgrading to 3D
Several blockbuster movies were slated to come out in 3D in attempt to increase demand for 3D content. A good example of this is the extremely successful Avatar. Many imagined bringing home the 3D experience to their home theaters. However, the lack of viable content coupled with the physical requirement of wearing glasses to view the content seems to have turned many people off to the idea. Fortunately, 3D technology has become much less expensive. It is likely that most TVs for sale will, by default, include a 3D compatibility option.
The Cost of 3D
The cost of 3D is no longer in the hardware but the accessories. The cost of enjoying 3D content will fall into the cost of providing glasses for all of the viewers and into the cost of providing the content. Prices will range from more economical passive 3D glasses to higher end active powered 3D glasses. 3D films, when available, also tend to be priced slightly higher than conventional films. It has been suggested that 3D TVs that do not require glasses are on the horizon but no definitive options have yet to arise. Even when they do, the pricing and availability of quality content remains to be seen.
In addition to the cost of the glasses and content, people looking to add 3D capabilities to their home theater will typically need to purchase a source compatible with the 3D content. This would include a 3D Blu-Ray player or a 3D cable package. 3D cable channels, at least at the moment, typically offer limited content and cost more than traditional premium channels, although more economical bundles might exist depending on your needs.
In any case, it is unclear if 3D content providers and technology that allows viewing without glasses will justify the higher costs of integrating 3D content into home theater systems. While early adopters and technophiles continue to push the capabilities of home theater systems, it remains to be see if or when this technology will gain mass commercial appeal.