Virtual Reality isn't 3D TV

It’s time to put a played-out argument to rest.

Virtual reality is not 3D TV. It won’t go the way of 3D TV. It will not die an embarrassing and quick death.

The basis behind the argument is that they both are “3D”. Saying VR is the same as 3D TV is like saying that looking out a window is the same as being outside, or that flying in an airplane is the same as skydiving. Just because two things share some characteristics does not mean they are the same.

So what makes 3D TV a fad and VR the ultimate communication medium?

It comes down to our brains. When you’re watching a 3D TV, it’s obvious to your brain what is happening - you’re looking at a screen on the other side of the room. Split that screen in two and put it right in front of your eyes, and you would think your brain would again obviously know what is going on.

But it doesn’t. It’s not so obvious that you’re just looking at a mini dual 3D TV attached to your face.

This is the power of VR - you know it’s fake, but at the same time part of your brain really believes it’s real. Just take a look at these people having visceral reactions in VR - you don’t see anything close to that happening with 3D TV.

This is why so many major corporations and universities are now backing VR as the ultimate medium. Outside of the normal TV manufacturers, how many other major tech co’s got involved with 3D TV? Where were the VCs and incubators focused on 3D TV? How many universities offered “3D TV studies” or majors? Did journalists and entertainers rush to 3D TV as the ultimate method of connecting with their viewers?

Contrast this to VR. Just about every major tech company is throwing their hat in the ring. Highly respected universities like Stanford, MIT, and CMU are pushing VR. Journalists have fully embraced VR as “the empathy machine,” and major entertainment companies from Fox  to the NFL are backing it.

3D TVs were a gimmicky consumer electronic device. Virtual reality is a communication platform that will make the world a closer place.

There is no comparison between the two.