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3D glasses are worth no more than the $3 up charge the theater wants  (Source: Panasonic)
Give us a decently priced 3D TV with passive glasses and things might take off

A disconnect in what analysts think will happen and what actually happens with consumers seems to be commonplace within the TV industry. In October, DisplaySearch released some figures that forecast the shipments of connected TVs to soar this year. So far, according to massive electronics retailer Best Buy, the mass adoption of expensive sets with new features simply hasn't happened and adoption of 3D TVs is still slow.

Reuters reports that Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told analysts that sales of 3D TVs has fallen behind expectations. Dunn said, "There was confusion about 3D early (on). It was a little short on content." A little short is an understatement, and one of the films that could have helped drive 3D TV adoption – Avatar – is locked up as an exclusive for Panasonic until 2012.

With the news of slower than expected sales of high-end TVs, Best Buy was forced to cut the profit forecast for the year. Frank Ingarra from Hennessy Funds stated, "The stock got killed today." Ingarra co-manages a find that has 32,000 shares of Best Buy stock. The stock closed at $35.52.

TV makers still expect sales to improve next year as more 3D content becomes available. LG's Jay Vandenbree told 
Reuters, "Just like how high-definition TV started in sports and movies, as 3D evolves, it will go with sports and movies and then become more of an everyday thing."

Some also point out that 3D content that is poorly produced is also making some watchers queasy. Google's Google TV offerings are also not doing as well as expected on the market. The main reason for this is the fact that most of the major video streaming services and networks blocked Google TV devices from accessing and streaming content from sites like Hulu, Fox, and others effectively killing the benefits of paying more for Google TV.

Perhaps even more telling though is a statement from Ross Rubin, analyst at NPD. Rubin said, "People can also buy lower-priced alternatives to connected TVs, be it video game players, Blu-ray players or Apple TV."

Consumers aren’t stupid; many are familiar with 3D from the theater and most understand the benefits of 3D in the home. What many consumers simply won't get behind are sets that are overpriced and then require active glasses that cost $200/pair or more adding an extra $800 or more to the cost of going 3D for a family of four. 

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Brightness/contrast ratio sucks-
By GiantPandaMan on 12/15/2010 12:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
Has anyone tried a TV in 3d mode at typical family room light levels? The contrast ratio/brightness with the shutter glasses on is simply crap.

3d works fine in theaters because they have optimum light control (total darkness) but for typical people who don't have light controlled rooms or who actually like to see during typical TV watching, the 3d sacrifices too much brightness.

Until this problem is solved, 3d will be a niche product. I'd bet money on that.

By FormulaRedline on 12/15/2010 12:40:31 PM , Rating: 4
I'll take your money on that one. Brightness is certainly a technical hurdle, but a relatively easy one. I'm sure they could fix it today if they were willing to trade off price, longevity, packaging, power use, etc. Case in point, get a 3D ready DLP projector, then move it in close to make a TV sized screen and you'll have plenty of'll just have to deal with some fan noise and replacing the bulb every few years.

I'd have to agree with the article and some of the other posters that the biggest problem right now is the content. On the PC, I've been using Nvidia's 3D Vision kit. This has high requirements as far as hardware, but once you get it set up it runs virtually any modern PC game in 3D. iZ3D, DDD, and some others are offering similiar solutions. I've enjoyed this so much that I've bought three 3D displays for PC gaming this year!

Meanwhile...where is the 3D TV content? Up until a month or two ago there was only ONE 3D blu-ray you could buy, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Now there are a few extras. The other titles are all exclusive deals (like Avatar as mentioned in the article) and require you to buy thousands in hardware just to grab the disc. Where are the 3D channels? There's like a dozen football games for the whole year. Why are all the glasses proprietary? Who is going to have his buddies over to watch the 3D football game on the new channel he just paid through the nose to subscribe to if they all have to buy $150 Panasonic glasses?

HD was an open standard and even that took a few years to take of and another few to become the new norm (there are still plenty of digital SD shows). How do the TV manufacturers ever plan to usher in the era of 3D with all this proprietary tech and exclusive content?

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