Just over a decade ago, 3D TVs were predicted to dominate the home entertainment market. Only a few years after rolling out shiny new 3D TVs, major TV manufacturers announced discontinuing the technology completely.
Not long after, 4K TVs started hitting the shelves and were touted as the future of television.
How did 4K TVs override consumer interest over 3D, and are there 4K TVs with 3D functionality?
In this article, we’ll look back on the rise and fall of 3D TVs alongside the boom of 4K technology. While discontinued by most television manufacturers, there are still some 4K TVs on the market with 3D support.
The Rise and Fall of 3D TVs
The first 3D TVs were introduced in 2010, with most major manufacturers unveiling 3D TV demos at international expositions. Less than a year later 3D TVs were released to the general public.
Before we get into the history of 3D TV, how do they work anyway?
3D TVs use stereoscopy to trick the brain into seeing a 2D image as a 3D image. The left and right eyes are fed the same image in an offset version so that the viewer perceives stereoscopic vision with depth perception.
There were two types of 3D TVs released: active and passive.
Active 3D uses liquid crystal shutters that are powered by batteries or a power outlet. A disadvantage with active 3D is that the image produces a ghostly outline that interferes with the viewing experience.
Passive 3D used lighter, cheaper, and non-electric glasses. Instead, it uses polarizing lenses, similar to what you’ll use in 3D theaters. However, passive 3D TV delivered lower resolution content.
Issues with 3D TVs
3D TV users usually encountered two problems after prolonged use: eye strain and eye fatigue, especially when 3D effects were more apparent and on-screen changes were faster.
Due to the uncomfortable nature of 3D TVs, children and pre-teens were advised against their use. Since 3D TVs also used stereoscopic technology, the 3D TV industry excluded audiences with only one functional eye or those with lazy eyes.
Do TVs Still Have 3D?
When they were first released in 2010, 3D TVs were expensive, to say the least. By 2012, consumers could get their hands on a 3D TV for half the price, which increased global sales by 25%.
While most TV manufacturers expected sales to go up, interest in 3D TVs sharply dropped by 2015. Not two years later, major TV manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, and LG announced dropping out of the 3D TV race.
By 2017, most TV manufacturers stopped the production of 3D TVs. With that, it will be difficult to find brand-new 3D TVs on the market.
4K TVs Take the Lead
With the release of 4K technology, viewers got to experience next-level home entertainment. This is because 4K technology offers brighter and razor-sharp images. After all, 4K TVs offered four times the pixel density of 1080p HD TVs.
Meanwhile, the accessibility of high-speed internet encouraged more people to choose 4K TVs over 1080p HD TVs. At 4K resolution, 3D images via passive stereoscopy would still look great when halved to 1080p.
There were a few stand-out 4K TVs with 3D support, such as the No products found.
Viewers can get impeccable image quality at 4K resolution coupled with contrast, color, and detail from its HDR capabilities. With Cinema 3D capabilities, viewers can experience a rich viewing experience similar to high-end digital cinemas.
If you can get your hands on a 4K TV with 3D support paired with a 4K Blu-ray player with 3D playback , we guarantee that you’ll get one of the best cinematic experiences for your home theater.
However, not many people got to experience the glory of 4K TVs with 3D support. As mentioned earlier, most major TV manufacturers stopped making 3D TVs to focus on the development of 4K technology.
Because of this, it’s been harder to find 3D TVs online.
Do 4K TVs Have 3D?
But the question is, why did TV manufacturers choose to ignore 3D technology completely in 4K TVs? There are quite a few reasons.
For one, creating 3D content is expensive –– filming native 3D content requires complex camera setups, while 2D to 3D conversion during post-production is time-consuming.
Filming 4K, on the other hand, has become standard for most content creators. This means that the majority of shows and movies today are available in 4K.
Next, 4K TVs are simple and convenient to use, unlike 3D TVs that cause eye discomfort and require additional accessories.
With a 4K TV, all you have to do is connect it via an HDMI cable to a Blu-ray player or Roku and you can start streaming high-quality content. 4K TVs are also compatible with most game consoles, including Playstation and Xbox .
Best 4K TVs with 3D Support
Fans of 3D viewing can still find 4K TVs with 3D support online, but they are more difficult to find. To help you out though, we think it will be helpful to mention some models that are worth checking out.
The Samsung 85-inch UN85JU7100 4K Ultra was released in 2015, and it offered one of the most realistic 3D technologies we’ve seen.
We’re also big fans of the 2016 Sony XBR65Z9D, which was available on a limited basis.
Since the rise of 4K technology, most TV manufacturers have stopped the production of televisions with 3D technology.
By 2017, companies including LG, Samsung, VIZIO, and Sony have halted the production of 4K TVs with 3D.
If you’re interested in experiencing 3D at a 4K resolution, you can find previous models on Amazon or eBay.
Looking for 4K TVs with 3D Playback can be challenging, but once you experience what it has to offer, you’ll realize that the search was worth it all along!
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.