There are no shortage of two-letter acronyms to learn when you're in the market for a new TV, and they're always changing. One you won't need to worry about in 2017, though, is 3D.
While it is still alive and well in movie theaters, Sony and LG both confirmed to CNET that they have dropped 3D support, and no major manufacturers announced new 3D-capable consumer models at CES this month. 3D's absence at CES is a clear sign that the technology, which was on the tips of TV shoppers' tongues just five years ago, has surrendered the living room.
You needn't lament 3D's demise, though, because not only can you still enjoy it in the theater, but there are many new acronyms to take its place. Among them are HDR and 4K, which take picture quality to new heights and have widespread support among hardware makers and content creators. Even virtual reality is making a splash in the movie and television world, thanks to cinema apps that support all the major VR headsets.
Of course, similar widespread support would have described 3D back in 2010, and studios continue to release 3D Blu-rays even today. So why not TVs? Part of the blame lies with the glasses that were required to experience 3D at home. Manufacturers' multiple attempts to create screens that could display 3D with no eyewear never made their way into a production TV set, so watching a 3D movie or show at home became more of a ceremony, with the whole family needing to find and don their glasses.
It's this lack of spontaneity that perhaps contributed the most to 3D TVs' demise. That's especially the case in the US, where TV watching is a casual experience that overlaps, but doesn't compete with, other activities like eating meals. Here at PCMag, we've argued that 3D's problems don't apply to virtual reality, and 4K and HDR are unobtrusive and impressive enough that they're likely here to stay as well.
The death of 3D televisions doesn't mean that companies won't continue to invest in 3D, just that most of that investment will move to large-scale theater implementations. MIT researchers offered a hint of what's to come last summer: a new (and likely very expensive) system of lenses and mirrors that lets viewers watch a 3D movie from any seat in a theater.
This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.