American Consumers to Be Issued 3-D Goggles

Discussion
Jan 07, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Consumers have flocked to movie theaters for three weeks
running to see James Cameron’s 3-D animated epic, Avatar. Now, the
question is, are consumers ready to go out and buy special sets and don goggles
to watch television in 3-D in their own homes?

The buzz coming from this year’s
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is that 3-D is ready for prime time,
if at prices well above the flat screen sets shoppers have come to know.

Programmers are apparently ready to hop on the 3-D bandwagon. ESPN,
owned by Disney, is ready to show World Cup Soccer matches and NBA games on
the first 3-D channel for the home. DirecTV is expected to announce
the launch of its own 3-D channels while Discovery Communications, Imax and
Sony plan to broadcast films, kid shows and concerts in the U.S. starting
in 2011.

"The momentum for 3D has been shockingly quick," Sir Howard Stringer,
Sony’s chief executive, told the Financial Times. "Suddenly everybody’s
wearing [3D] glasses."

“The stars are aligning to make 2010 the launch year of 3-D,” John Taylor,
a vice president for LG Electronics USA, told The New Times. "It’s still
just in its infancy, but when there is a sufficient amount of content available
— and lots of people are working on this — there will be a true tipping
point for consumers."

Riddhi Patel, an analyst at the research firm iSuppli, told
the Times that
guys are ready for 3-D. "I think 90 percent of the males in this country would
be dying to watch the Super Bowl and be immersed in it," he said.

Discussion
Questions: How quickly will 3-D viewing become standard in American homes?
What do you see as the biggest challenges standing in the way of widespread
adoption? What will this mean for retailers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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11 Comments on "American Consumers to Be Issued 3-D Goggles"


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W. Frank Dell II
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

3-D has potential, but wide acceptance is years away. In the last few years there have been great sales of flat screen TVs. In these economic times, consumers are not going to junk a perfectly good TV which they just paid off to buy 3-D.

Another factor is the number of shows and channels that will be broadcasting 3-D. One or two shows a year will not justify it for today’s consumers. Look how long it took for High Definition to become common.

My recommendation is to take the HD curve and reduce it by 25% to project 3-D. I see 3-D as a want today and not a need for all but the small number of early adopters.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
11 years 4 months ago

Ok, I am about to run out to catch a matinee of Avatar. From what I have read I may feel completely different when I return, but right now the marginal benefits of 3-D still elude me. It was the creator of Netscape who espoused the consumer’s “ever expanding wants and needs.” I don’t think I am a Luddite, but I just don’t feel the need for a 3-D TV. I can’t say I wouldn’t take a free 3-D TV, but when I think about the size of room, audio components, and screen I would need to create the proper experience, I think I will get my 3-D experience in the theater for a while.

Then again, I hear they have color televisions now too.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 4 months ago

3-D viewing is hot and it will get hotter. But the biggest hurdle to the constancy of 3-D viewing in the living room will be the next inviting innovation that will undoubtedly be forthcoming in the future. We are living in an era of invention and re-invention and we are always ready to embrace the next phenomenon presented to us. Like the hula hoop, 3-D viewing will have its “great day” then settle down and join the rest of our great inventions of the past such as the land phone.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
11 years 4 months ago

I have no doubt that some of this is driven by the fact that 3D in theaters has really taken off, and has contributed to movie theaters’ better-than-expected results. When 3D can get you $3-4 extra per ticket, then what’s it worth in the home, right?

But unless the glasses get a lot more comfortable, I just don’t see it being a big deal anytime soon in the home. I’d be interested to see how many people have transitioned their whole house to HD yet–in our household, we only just moved a second TV to HD, and there is still one more to go. When you can get a 3D experience without any extra equipment beyond an upgrade of your TV, then I think it will take off. Otherwise, I’ll just go to the theater. Heck, I’m still marveling at how good football looks in HD!

Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

Are consumers truly ready to rush out and buy another, more expensive TV?

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
Guest
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
11 years 4 months ago

Younger consumers will drive the demand for 3-D television at home. They will do this by being exposed to more and more 3-D movies in theaters. In 2009 the list of 3-D movies grew from 2008 and I can only assume the trend will continue.

Home viewing brings several challenges.
1) Television upgrades and cost
2) The number of options to view
3) Quality of the 3-D image
4) Quality, cost and convenience of 3-D glasses
5) Ability to wear over normal glasses.

The final is attention–Do people really just sit and watch TV (sporting events, etc..) or do they get up and watch while doing other things? If they do other things, can they easily switch from 3-D viewing to regular viewing? All of this will be figured out over time, the question is, how long will it take? Factoring in the economy and all the challenges I mentioned above we are closer to 8-10 years before 3-D is popular at home.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
11 years 4 months ago

3D will have an audience, but not on the wide scale of say HD or Blue Ray. Yes, I greatly enjoyed the gee-whiz aspects of Avatar. A big part of that experience, however, was seeing it on an iMAx screen, where it was perfectly appropriate. Somehow the concept of watching this on a 32″ screen lacks the same kind of “immersion” necessary to get the full benefits.

My sense of this is that this will continue to grow in the theater channel (previews at the theater confirm that), but not get a wide following at home, at least not in the near term. Of course a lot of geniuses didn’t think the home PC had a chance either.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

It’s all about price and programming. When enough programs are available in 3D, and when receivers are reasonably priced, lots of people will respond. (But families with college expenses will hang on to their analog TVs and converter boxes….)

Roger Saunders
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

Avatar was an interesting form of entertainment. At $13.50 a ticket at the theater, it was decidedly on the “high side.”

The same concern is likely to spring up in the minds of consumers as they consider making the purchase of a 3-D ready television set. This will take a significantly long period of time to place these boxes in the homes of the American Consumer, where the average number of TV sets already exceeds 2 per home.

An opportunity to capture Manufacturer/Retail sales with the early adopters, but a long way from a mass purchase item–one form of content is not going to drive the purchase/use of a device like a television set.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

…And what will come out the week after 3D TV? 5D? With taste & smell?! Remember SmelliVision! What is old is new again. I’m still mad about my cassette, LP, and soon DVD collections.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
11 years 4 months ago

A process for transmitting 3D television was developed by the South Carolina Educational Network in about 1985. I was able to see a demonstration back then and it was incredible. They were working on a system that did not require glasses, but used cameras and computers to synchronize several images of the same subject from different angles. I don’t think the television set receiving the signals was much different from a standard 1985 color television set.

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