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Why 3D TV Went From CES Darling to Consumer Reject

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Old 01-07-2012, 11:44 AM   #1  
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Default Why 3D TV Went From CES Darling to Consumer Reject

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...-d-technology/

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3D television was heralded as the breakthrough technology of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Hot on the heels of James Cameron’s eye-opening Avatar, 3D HDTVs were everywhere on the show floor.

One year later, at CES 2011, 3D was back again — this time iterating. We saw bigger 3D HDTVs, 3D displays that didn’t require special glasses, and camcorders that captured 3D content.

But where is 3D now? It’s certainly not showing up big on our CES 2012 radar, and now looks like over-hyped technology in hindsight — especially to those of us who always thought 3D’s natural home was in the movie theater, not the living room.

Indeed, a variety of obstacles — high prices, a lack of 3D content, and uncomfortable viewing experiences — have kept 3D TV adoption in the single digits nationwide. Manufacturers and content providers are working to address these issues, but one has to wonder if 3D was nothing but a flash in the CES pan — a technology story rather than anything consumers actually wanted.

In 2010, consumers purchased a paltry 1.1 million 3D TV units, and although sales have grown in the two years since, the widespread 3D fervor that TV manufacturers were anticipating never took root.

According to a January Display Search report, just more than 23 million 3D TVs were shipped in 2011 worldwide, with only 3.6 million shipped in the U.S.

Display Search analyst Paul Gagnon says that U.S. household penetration for 3D TVs is at about 3 percent. “To be fair, 3D TVs have only been available for sale in a significant way for about 18 months, so that’s why the penetration is so low,” Gagnon says. “That said, it’s still lower than what many in the industry had hoped for.”

Markets like China and western Europe are seeing far more enthusiasm for 3D TV than in North America, but worldwide adoption is still likely less than 2 percent.

So what’s to blame?

The content, for one.

“We have disappointed our audience multiple times now, and because of that I think there is genuine distrust — whereas a year and a half ago, there was genuine excitement, enthusiasm and reward for the first group of 3D films that actually delivered a quality experience,” Dreamworks animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

After Avatar, a string of unsuccessful, rushed-to-market 3D flicks — we’re looking at you, Clash of the Titans — zoomed to theaters hoping to cash in on the craze. Moviegoers were left with a bad taste in their mouths (and oftentimes headaches, too, as 3D viewing can cause eyestrain). Since then, better-quality 3D films like Tron: Legacy, and, more recently, Tin Tin and Hugo, have tried to improve 3D’s image. Meanwhile, small-screen content providers have branched out to provide live and on-demand 3D offerings.

Currently, there are 55 3D channels worldwide, including ESPN 3-D. Another 35 channels offer 3D content on-demand.

If content and a disillusioned audience are the biggest problem, that’s bad news for manufacturers: They have zero control over the content side of the equation.

To this end, 3D TV manufacturers are doing whatever they can to make the 3D viewing experience as pleasing and trouble-free as possible. This includes doing away with uncomfortable, unattractive 3D glasses, which have also been cited in studies as barriers to consumer adoption. LG, for one, has announced it’s making 3D glasses that are lighter and more stylish.

But even handsome 3D specs can’t mitigate the headaches and fatigue suffered by some viewers of 3D content, or the high prices of 3D TVs.

So, yes, 3D TVs are expensive. And they can cause headaches. And they aren’t supported by a lot of quality content. All of which begs the question: Who’s buying these things at all?

The existing sales, however paltry, can be attributed to consumer desire to purchase high-end TVs. Consumers don’t really want 3D specifically, but if they want that priciest, top-of-the-line unit, they’ll receive 3D capability whether they like it or not. “Sometimes consumers are even unaware [that they're getting a 3D set] at the time of purchase,” Futuresource Consulting’s Fiona Hoy said.

Whatever the reason for purchase, the most recent studies indicate consumers are slowly warming up to 3D. An October report from the Digital Entertainment Group found that the majority of 3D TV owners say the experience is positive: 88 percent of those surveyed rated 3D picture quality positively, and 85 percent of those 3D TV owners prefer to watch more than half of their programming in 3D.

As prices come down, more content becomes available, and 3D glasses improve (or are replaced by glasses-free technology), 3D TV adoption will only increase. Whether we reach the near 50 percent adoption rates that have been projected for 2014 and 2015 is yet to be seen. But whether you like it or not, 3D does not appear to be in its death throes just yet.

Yes, we’ll see new 3D displays and accessories at CES next week, but you can rest assured the manufacturers’ over-reaching hype campaigns are over.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #2  
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October 2010 I paid something like $1,200 for my (open box!) 46" Samsung (Active) 3D TV with 2 glasses and 1 3D Movie.

November 2011 I paid $800 for my 47" LG (Passive) 3D TV with 10 (!) pairs of glasses.

Prices dropped like a rock, and 3D appears to just be a 'buzz' word now like 240hz etc. Shame since we are getting more 3D Content now (still not as much as I would have liked, and many being retailer/bundle exclusives).

But is 3D really...gone?
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:53 AM   #3  
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I think 3D is here to stay, it's just taking longer than some expected for adoption. The key is that the vast majority of owners enjoy watching 3D content.

It took a while for color TVs and HDTVs to gain widespread adoption as well. Why should 3DTV be any different?

The buzz isn't the same at CES simply because it's not new tech, not because it's dying.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:58 AM   #4  
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3D is a gimmick..glad that most consumers rejected it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:59 AM   #5  
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3D is already at commodity prices.

That means that it will continue to expand its footprint, just like BD hardware (people buy 3D TVs because they need a display device just like people buy BD players because it plays content, not because it plays Blu-ray discs).


Games will be the killer app. My guess is both Sony and Microsoft will have new consoles that support 3D and some sort of motion control. Those technologies together will change the way we interact with the display devices.

Active entertainment and control will make 3D a must have. Passive entertainment will later benefit from that shift.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:05 PM   #6  
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3D is a gimmick..glad that most consumers rejected it.
They rejected color TVs when they came out too. They were too expensive. How did that work out?

It's only a matter of time when 3D will be built into nearly every (larger size) HDTV sold.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:13 PM   #7  
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They rejected color TVs when they came out too. They were too expensive. How did that work out?
Yes like mini disc and DCC were rejected by consumers and became the standard

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It's only a matter of time when 3D will be built into nearly every (larger size) HDTV sold.
Just never used. Sure my panny is 3D but I have never used it. I am not wearing dorky glasses to watch TV. Now if dorky glasses are not required, then maybe I'd be more interested in it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:37 PM   #8  
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Just never used. Sure my panny is 3D but I have never used it. I am not wearing dorky glasses to watch TV. Now if dorky glasses are not required, then maybe I'd be more interested in it.
Which Panny do you have? I'd like to get the VT30.

It's hard to say how many are using it vs. how many are not, but what we do know is that most who use it seem to like it.

Also sales of 3D movies are rising, and unlike it 2010 there is starting to be a decent amount of 3D content available, with it coming out at an accelerated pace. Certainly no sign of it going away anytime soon.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:44 PM   #9  
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The launch of 3DTV was never looked at like all the other launches of TV formats (B&W, Color and HDTV). They were acknowledged marathons - years to get accepted and acclimated. 3DTV on the other hand has been treated as a sprint - a 100 yd dash. Greed was placed before promoting adoption and still is.

3DTV = a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:11 PM   #10  
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The launch of 3DTV was never looked at like all the other launches of TV formats (B&W, Color and HDTV). They were acknowledged marathons - years to get accepted and acclimated. 3DTV on the other hand has been treated as a sprint - a 100 yd dash. Greed was placed before promoting adoption and still is.

3DTV = a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
But 3D has already been a fad twice - 50's and 80's. And this generation is already showing the same thing. I know, I know, your gonna show me a list of movies that studios are going to do in 3D all the way till 2013. That does not mean they will come out in 3D if there is no money to be made. It just seems more and more like a fad (again).

Until there is affordable glasses-less 3D TV, it's not going to do much. People just don't want to wear glasses when watching a movie. At least the Passive 3D Glasses are not as bad as Active.
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:21 PM   #11  
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A lot of folks are under the impression that a 3D receiver is "BAD" and when shopping, they are rejecting 3D capable sets. Nevermind the fact that most 3D sets will do 2D just as well as 2D sets (and in most cases even better), and 3D is totally optional. I mean, you can still use a color television to watch a black&white program, yes???

Some of this is due to the bad press 3D is receiving, part of which is deserved, and much of which is not (take this thread for example which places a lot of negative emphasis on 3D).

What does need a good hard look is 3D content. Little is available (almost no over-the-air content), and what's out there on BluRay is priced in the stratosphere for most disk buyers. That's what will kill home 3D if anything does.

I have a 3D capable system, and my next big screen purchase would most certainly be 3D capable, but my 3D disk collection is very conservative due to the pricing the disk industry has settled on. I won't pay over $20 for a 3D disk unless it's a really special one, and the three, four, and five disk packs mean nothing to me. I don't want extra disks which only drive the pricing higher. This latter paragraph is, of course, my own thinking, but I believe the average person who wants to get a feature for their kids' library is certainly going to think twice before paying the premium (not to mention the regular BluRay premium that came with those disks) for a 3D disk, 3D display or not.

If the media doesn't take off, 3D won't either. We need a good market "adjustment" that would put 3D media back into the affordable category, and then 3D would thrive (again, my opinion).

I do believe 3D is here to stay, and it's a different story entirely, than the 1950s, because of the development of the technology which will continue to evolve with introduction of passive and, eventually, glassless 3D. It's just the speed of adoption that will be stifled by overly greedy media marketing.

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Old 01-07-2012, 03:23 PM   #12  
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They rejected color TVs when they came out too. They were too expensive. How did that work out?

It's only a matter of time when 3D will be built into nearly every (larger size) HDTV sold.
I dunno. I'm old enough to remember the first color TVs and in fact my family was the first on our block to have one. My dad built one from a Heathkit kit. Although the prices were steep (hence the Heathkit) and that certainly slowed adoption, I don't think consumers ever rejected the technology. Everyone I knew that didn't have one wanted a color TV. The neighbors used to come to our house to watch Disney's Wonderful World of Color on Sunday evenings.

I think 3D is different, I hear a lot of people who specifically don't want it (myself included), never heard that when color TV was new.
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Old 01-08-2012, 03:38 AM   #13  
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I dunno. I'm old enough to remember the first color TVs and in fact my family was the first on our block to have one. My dad built one from a Heathkit kit. Although the prices were steep (hence the Heathkit) and that certainly slowed adoption, I don't think consumers ever rejected the technology. Everyone I knew that didn't have one wanted a color TV. The neighbors used to come to our house to watch Disney's Wonderful World of Color on Sunday evenings.

I think 3D is different, I hear a lot of people who specifically don't want it (myself included), never heard that when color TV was new.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:49 AM   #14  
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3D is a gimmick..glad that most consumers rejected it.
This.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:24 PM   #15  
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I dunno. I'm old enough to remember the first color TVs and in fact my family was the first on our block to have one. My dad built one from a Heathkit kit. Although the prices were steep (hence the Heathkit) and that certainly slowed adoption, I don't think consumers ever rejected the technology. Everyone I knew that didn't have one wanted a color TV. The neighbors used to come to our house to watch Disney's Wonderful World of Color on Sunday evenings.

I think 3D is different, I hear a lot of people who specifically don't want it (myself included), never heard that when color TV was new.

Good point, very few people didn't want color TV. I think the market will always be semi-niche with 3DTV, but I have noticed that almost everyone who tries it out, likes it. I think a decent percentage of those who say they don't want it, or don't want to wear the glasses, probably would change their tune once they tried it out at home.
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