/ Technology

Are glasses putting you off 3D TV?

Woman wearing 3D glasses

The march of the 3D TVs is well under way, even though the majority of the votes in our poll suggest that we’re not interested in the technology. It looks like the required glasses may be the sticking point.

So far in our poll over half of you won’t be buying a 3D TV. A quarter of you claim you’re likely to buy one in the next five years, with 9% within two years, and 12% in the next 12 months.

Although the jury’s still out on this – please go and have your say in the poll – it doesn’t look like many of you are interested in watching your telly in three-dimensions. And one of those limiting factors, as argued by Mike Briggs in his Convo against 3D tech, is the need for 3D glasses.

3D vision damaged by glasses

Having to wear bulky shutter-glasses, which currently cost a small fortune, are apparently holding us back. In a study by The Nielsen Company, 57% of people surveyed said the required glasses were the reason they wouldn’t buy a 3D set.

And many of you agreed in your comments on our previous 3D TV articles. Chad declared that “3D is a gimmick and until it’s glasses free it will stay a gimmick”. Terfar added that he “cannot see users wearing glasses to watch 3D TV”.

As a glasses wearer, Michael Bates felt that “the addition of any glasses worn over the top of [his] own makes for a very uncomfortable and distracting experience”.

Unsurprisingly, in this age of multiple gadget handling, nearly nine in ten people felt that the glasses would constrain them from multitasking while they watch TV.

Lack of 3D content doesn’t worry gamers

Other concerns include the lack of content, either broadcast or on disc, since there are still only five true 3D Blu-rays on sale in the UK. But unsurprisingly, it’s the tech-savvy gamers who’re likely to jump on to the 3D band wagon.

Seven in ten gamers told Neilsen they were interested in playing games in 3D. With 3D gaming already on Sony’s PlayStation 3, gaming could very well be the deciding factor in the technology’s success, just as the console had a hand in Blu-ray’s victory.

A comment on another Conversation confirms this view – Jeremy explains that “video games will end up playing a large part in this, but only inasmuch as giving home 3D more publicity and making it more acceptable in your own living room.”

So where do these results leave 3D TV? It looks like the technology certainly has the potential to take off in a big way, but it’s unlikely to explode until glasses-free TVs go mainstream.

When will you buy a 3D TV?

You mad? I won't (51%, 319 Votes)

Within the next five years (27%, 171 Votes)

Within the next 12 months (12%, 72 Votes)

Within the next two years (10%, 61 Votes)

Total Voters: 623

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I wouldn’t mind so much if the glasses were like the Real3d ones in the cinema – but for a family to view prohibitively expensive at the moment – Add in the doubt as to the final accepted technology and even the need for glasses in the long term (see Nintendos 3DS etc) and, much like HDDVD/Bluray a few years ago it needs to be wait and see – Early adoption with something this costly could be a big mistake


The Nintendo 3DS will certainly grow the appetite for glasses-free technology and some TVs are already being prototyped. But it’s not great…yet.

Chris Draper says:
16 September 2010

I would be interested to know when (or even, if) 3D will go glasses free.

I think it’s a bit of a non-debate really – like asking whether using a steering wheel puts you off driving a car!

3D TV currently is used exclusively for showpiece broadcasts/films so i dont think multi-tasking either is an issue – why spend so much money on the TV & glasses and then also try doing the ironing at the same time?

That said I do like 3D and it absolutely adds a lot to football and films (assuming, especially in the former example), that watching conditions are good as this is likely to be in the pub. Will I be buying a 3D TV in the short term? Probably not – 3D has been around for 50+ years and frankly in it’s current state I think it’s a bit of a flash in the pan. The Queen’s coronation was filmed in 3D in 1953 and it’s only advances in technology in the film industry recently that has caused the boom in it’s use. Lombear is right that early adoption, certainly at this stage, I feel is likely to leave you feeling out of pocket in a few years time.

Chris Draper says:
16 September 2010

Erm – i tried to type “glasses free” above and it starred me!


Thanks Chris – surprisingly it didn’t star you out the second time. We’re aware of the issue and are making efforts to fix it.


I said 12months, but you have to realize, nearly all high-end LCD models are 3d capable and have been since CES 2010… So I’m pretty sure many people will be getting 3d by default — just like many people have TVs capable of using ‘gadgets’ nowadays but probalby also said “never” in a poll like this.

sbains says:
16 September 2010

My 73″ Mitsubishi DLP WD-73833 was 3D ready two years ago, it was a spec I had to have on my last big screen purchase. Just waiting on Killzone 3 to release on PS3 before I go out and buy Xpand 3D glasses, I want 3D glasses with a rechargeable battery rather than a propiertary one like the ones today. I will buy two pairs, but agree for a family of four it is expensive but that is what the movie theater is for, my 3D will be for gaming mainly.


As said by you and Roger, many TVs already have the capability of showing 3D programmes, Blu-rays and games. It’s mainly about the refresh rate, so all you’ll need are the glasses and adjoining receiver. So in the future most of us will have the tech in our homes whether we knew it or not – though this won’t be the case when the expected ‘glasses-free’ TVs launch.

tarbis says:
16 September 2010

Actually the price is the one putting me off. I watched many 3D movies in cinemas before, although putting another set of glasses on my own is a bother but once you have adjusted, you won’t feel bothered at all. I just wish they make clip on glasses for those with people with correctional glasses.
But seeing how Sony and other companies started working on making glass free 3DTVs, I guess waiting for another 5 years before I can enjoy 3D movies and gaming won’t be too late. It’s just the same as HDTV before. I waited until the prices dropped until I bought one, was I too late? Heck no. I enjoyed it more now since I got to buy a full HD capable 1080p HDTV.