It’s been nearly a year since consumer electronics manufacturers, Hollywood studios and even cable companies rallied around the concept of 3DTV at CES, announcing new products and programming aimed at translating the 3-D experience from the movie theater to the living room. But the dream of delivering 3-D video into consumer homes is one that probably won’t be realized — at least not anytime soon, and most likely not in North America.
We’ve been skeptics of the movement all along, but the latest data from Nielsen shows that not only are consumers in North America not particularly interested in 3-D TV, but the majority seem downright opposed to the technology. But the bad news doesn’t stop there: the global survey of more than 27,000 respondents found that less than a quarter of consumers worldwide are likely buyers of 3DTV sets.
Less than 10 percent of consumers worldwide said they would be buying a 3-D TV over the next 12 months, with an additional 15 percent saying they probably will purchase a 3-D capable set during that time. But those global trends don’t extend to North America, where only 3 percent of consumers surveyed said they would definitely buy a 3DTV over the next year, with an additional 3 percent saying they probably will buy one.
In addition to the meager showing of interested 3DTV buyers in America, there’s also the percentage that are outright opposed to owning a 3DTV, it seems. Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would not be purchasing 3-D sets, compared to a third of respondents worldwide that said they wouldn’t invest in 3-D for the home. That’s bad news for consumer electronics manufacturers who have invested heavily in pushing 3-D in the North American market. It’s also very bad news for pay TV distributors and networks that have sunk millions of dollars into bringing more 3-D programming into their channel lineups.
So why are North American consumers so much less likely to want to buy a 3-D TV set? It could be a sign of overall 3-D fatigue, as consumers in the U.S. in particular have been bombarded with 3-D movies ever since James Cameron’s Avatar hit it big.
But it could also be that North American consumers might be more exposed to the 3-D experience on TV and just don’t like it; an earlier study by Nielsen found that consumers became less likely to purchase a 3-D TV after they’ve experienced one. For some markets — like Latin America, for instance — where the 3-D buzz has been less prevalent, interest in purchasing a 3-D TV could simply indicate that consumers haven’t actually watch TV on one.
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