Super Slo Mo said:
...Talking to a number of people in the industry recently, the general feeling is that 3D in TV terms will remain a niche, the big players seems not to be pushing it as hard as they were before, and there certainly seems to be less enthusiasm about it than there was. It's not taken off anywhere near as quickly as HD did, although it's not going to go away any time soon.
Of course it's a niche. Not everyone has 20/20 vision. Anyone who has impaired vision is immediately left out in the cold.
When looking at this, you need to stand back and look at the historical viewpoint. I did a paper about this as part of my degree - here's my take:
From conception, cinema (and later TV) has all been about capturing and reproducing reality in the way most akin to 'being there'.
All of the major developments, including moving from silent film, and black and white film met with some friction from critics and filmmakers who felt that their art was being eroded, and still of course you will get black and white and silent film today for artistic reasons. Also, there is the time lag for the technology to come through in both production (the filmmakers) and consumption (the cinemas/your TV).
This always has a 'catch 22' position. Without the filmmakers there is no software, and without the hardware, there is no demand for the software. But, over time it gets there.
Oakey, I hear what you are saying, but, dispassionately, the industry will always go with the mass market, and the mass market can see in 3D. Silent cinema (or mono sound, or stereo sound, or most recently Dolby Digital and DTS) did not prevail because some of us are hard of hearing, nor did black and white prevail because some of us not see well or be colour blind.
Super Slo Mo - interesting that you have heard that some people believe that take-up is slow. IMHO that effect is that we are so used to things moving at light speed we forget how long it takes for technology to come in and tastes to change. For example:
How many years was it between the first film with sound, and most films to have sound? I believe ten to fifteen years.
How many years was it between the first film in colour to most films being in colour? Around ten years too.
And the first colour TV, to most people having colour TVs? At least ten years.
Surround sound in film to being in the home? HD screens being available (I have a 2001 relic) to most people demanding HD? You get the point. Ten years mostly.
To put 3D into perspective (and I mean todays 3D not any old tech with coloured glasses), I remember watching Avatar and being blown away in December 2009. I genuinely thought that home technology was 5 years away. I had a 3DTV and was watching content 18 months later. I don't believe glasses are the way forward, and I am secondly blown away by the fact that within 2 1/2 years of the cinema showing the first 3D film, you can see it at home without glasses.
In perspective, that is very, very fast. Especially considering that the jump from 2D to 3D is arguably the most radical advance in reproduction since the industry started.
So IMHO, 3D is an inevitability, for the masses, too. It's not an if, but a when.
How? IMHO, it will be when 3D becomes a default. Widescreen just became a default, HD is becoming a default. Some TVs now are 3D capable, you just buy glasses. In the end, most TVs will be 3D by default, without glasses, when you play 3D content. And at that point, producers will produce in it by default so as not to be left behind those that do.