Sunday, October 02, 2011

3D Still Slow To Take Off

About a year ago looking through the advertising circulars inserted in the Sunday newspaper you might have come to the conclusion that you were the only person in the entire universe that did not own a 3D Digital TV. Touted as the next “must have” for your home theater, all the major brands were promoting the movie-like experience possible with 3D TV. Jumping ahead about a year, the landscape has changed a lot.

A cursory look at the most recent Sunday paper indicates that last year’s hot item is, at best, lukewarm this year. There are several possible reasons for this cool consumer acceptance, not the least of which is price. The average price of a standard 2D HDTV set
continues to drop. Today the average is about $500 and dropping fast as several models are available below $150. The prices of 3D sets also are dropping but, because most have very large screens, they are still much more expensive than standard 2D HDTVs.

More than the high price, the need to wear specials 3D glasses to experience the 3D effect is a big negative for many. The glasses are expensive, so inviting several good friends over to watch the “Lion King” may require a king’s pocketbook.

When 3D TV first launched in the US, several program providers promised to provide content on cable and satellite in 3D. This promise has yet to be realized. The transmission of 3D requires a different and more complicated set of transmission technologies. Companies don’t want to invest these extra funds if there is not a large base of viewers and viewers don’t want to invest in pricey 3D HDTVs if there is not a rich program catalog. Most 3D viewers use Blue-ray DVDs as their main source of content.

Things might change in the future, but investing the extra bucks in a 3D set may not be a good idea for most of us. Of course you can always visit the guy down the street who has just about every device connected by a wire or powered by a battery. Drop in and don’t forget to bring the chips and beer and let him provide the glasses.

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