Prior to virtual reality (VR), 3D was hyped as the technology to provide an additional layer of immersion to traditional forms of entertainment. Cinemas, film studios and certain directors discussed at length how the technology would be the future of entertainment

This hasn’t happened, with the technology now an afterthought for both studios and consumers.

It seemed for some time that 3D technologies would remain popular, boosted by a number of new films produced in the format and post-cinema support coming in the form of new televisions equipped with the technology.

The 3D push hasn’t kept up, however, and now the technology is sagging in both cinema and television support – key market areas for the tech.

2014 is set to have 28 films produced in 3D, down from 39 in 2011. Arguably, few film producers took full advantage of the format, instead opting to either carry out post-production 3D enhancement or re-release older films in the format.

While not the same technology, virtual reality achieves a similar effect in that it’s able to provide another layer of immersion over traditional viewing formats. Both technologies can help to trick viewers into believing they’re in another place.

Virtual reality could replace 3D as the medium of choice for viewers, but the change wouldn’t bode well for cinemas. As VR is largely a solitary experience, films would simply be delivered via an internet connection straight to the headset.

With VR looming on the horizon as the next big thing, it’s unlikely the technology will see a similar drop off to 3D. Offering a far more immersive experience and able to bring virtual worlds to life at a greater level than 3D, VR should be here to stay following initial market introduction.

The next year should be interesting for 3D and cinema technologies with VR becoming available on the market.

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