When it first hit the market in 2010, 3D TV was touted as the next big thing in home entertainment – by the manufacturers at least. But well into the second half of 2011, it’s looking like 3D TV is headed the way of the Laserdisc – into the infamy of technology that not a whole lot of people bought into, and many of those who did regret. Is 3D TV a monumental fail?

With sales of 3D TVs nowhere near what they were anticipated to be and a serious lack of 3D content to make the purchase of the technology worthwhile, it doesn’t look good. The New York Post reported today that in spite of continued optimism and statements of dedication, ESPN 3D may be ready to shut down, especially if sales of the televisions in question don’t pick up. And in the current economy, that doesn’t look all that likely.

But the news doesn’t come as a surprise to everyone; back in early 2010 CNET was already questioning how much of a future the new technology really had. Television manufacturers bargained on the popularity of 3D movies to make an at-home version fly off the shelves – they were wrong. People just aren’t rushing out to jump on new technology the way they once were anymore, and beyond that, I’m not sure anyone was really all that impressed with the idea in the first place.

3D itself is nothing new, but it has seen something of a comeback in theaters. Wearing a funny pair of glasses is a gimmick that might work on people paying to see something on the big screen now and then, but most of us have no desire to kick back at home and slip on a pair of glasses for our nightly viewing routine. Nor do we want to shell out the big bucks to upgrade to a new set that requires us to do so. Not that there is a whole lot in 3D content to watch even if we did. Toshiba is ready to come out with a glasses-free version of the 3D TV, but it might be too little too late.

So no, 3D TV’s lackluster sales are not a big surprise. Is the technology headed down the proverbial tube? Nobody is ready to come out and say it for sure, but it certainly won’t be jaw-dropping news if it happens.

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