You need made-in-3D source material to take full advantage of a 3D TV. Many 3D products feature 2D-to-3D conversion options, but they're a far cry from a real 3D source. 3D content is still quite rare, and in our opinion that's the No. 2 obstacle (besides the glasses) preventing 3D TV from quicker adoption.
A total of just over 50 3D Blu-ray discs were released/have been announced for the U.S. in 2011, according to 3D Movie List.com--compared to more than 2000 2D Blu-ray releases. Most 3D Blu-rays are documentaries, particularly IMAX, or children's animation titles. The 3D Blu-ray format, and made-in-3D movies, definitely represent the state of the 3D art, however, with full high-def resolution and the benefit of the latest techniques to make the 3D effect comfortable and enjoyable.
Currently there are only two nationwide 24-7 TV channels that offer 3D content: ESPN 3D and 3net. Only ESPN is offered on providers other than DirecTV; its live content for fall 2011 consists of college football games but not "Monday Night Football," and it often rebroadcasts past events like the World Cup 2010 for soccer. 3net offers primarily documentaries and Imax. DirecTV and Comcast have exclusive 3D channels called n3D and Xfinity 3D that feature niche 3D content.
Unlike Blu-ray, 3D broadcasts on TV currently use a half-resolution 3D format known as side-by-side, resulting in a significantly softer, non-high-def look. We know of no plans to add more 3D channels or introduce a full-HD resolution 3D broadcast, although we expect both improvements to occur sometime over the next few years.
Most pay TV providers, including DirecTV, DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Fios, offer 3D pay-per-view/video-on-demand movies and select special events like the U.S Open tennis tournament and The Masters. The Vudu streaming service also has a smattering of 3D movies available. Some 3D TV makers, namely Samsung, LG and Sony, have also launched 3D pay-per-view streaming services built into their Internet TVs, although content is very limited at the moment.
Games are often touted as the "killer app" for 3D TVs. Today the majority of popular titles are still 2D-only, but the number available in 3D is rising fast. As of now the selection, aside from Nintendo 3DS games, includes cross-platform titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Crysis 2 and the PS3-exclusives Gran Turismo 5, Resistance 3, and Uncharted 3. 3D on the PS3 can be full-resolution, depending on the game, but the Xbox 360 is only capable of half-resolution--side-by-side or top-bottom format--3D. The Nintendo Wii does not offer 3D compatibility.
If few people own 3D TVs, content producers have little incentive to deliver 3D programming and games. But lack of 3D content is a big reason people don't want to get a 3D TV today. We don't see this situation changing in the immediate future, and we feel glasses-free 3D TVs need to be available at mainstream prices--and work well--before 3D content has a chance to become as common as 2D high-def content is today.