11 Comments

Summary:

Consumer electronics companies have invested heavily to make 3-D TV a success. But the more consumers use the technology, the less likely they are to buy, with 60 percent of North American survey respondents saying they won’t buy a 3DTV set in the next year.

3-d bark

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.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bark.

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  1. Its very simple. Its the glasses. How many are you going to get? Can you get them in Kids size? If you’ve got kids, it a struggle to just find the remote now how are you going to find 6 pairs of glasses? How much to replace them when the kids loos them under the couch or step on them or the dog decides to chew on a pair. got enough of them when the guys come ove for the football game? you have to watch head on, you can casually do something else from across the room and glance up every now and then without putting the glasses on and off. Until there is no glasses 3d it will not be very popular.

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  3. Ditto what Bob said. The glasses have to go. If they can get 3D with a wide viewing angle and no glasses, they might have a market for it.

  4. I would have agreed with you six months ago before I started doing research to replace my 1997-era TV. Obviously I wanted to move to HD and what I found by Black Friday was that the 3D price premium shrunk to a “who cares” level. I bought a 58″ Panasonic plasma that is a terrific HD set, and oh-by-the-way it also does 3D. So if any 3D programming does become available I might want to try it sometime. I guess I was lucky in that I waited so long to get into HD.

  5. Yep, totally agree with the article. The 3D adventure by big manufacturer and content providers seem nothing more than an attempt to get rid of a bad technology thru heavy promotions.

    Common now: in last 60 years all that we could get was polarizing filter glass instead of red/cyan glasses ?!! And they want everyone to jump on board because that’s the “future” ?!

    In my view, the whole TV technologies is out-dated; an internet based networked TV ; where i can watch a movie on my Amtrak ride with my wife in the living room and my friend at his say, work (:)), with a sharable viewing experience is what is needed; And an ambiance based 3D (like surround sound) will definitely sweeten the deal. Not that stupid looking so called “cool” glasses.

    Or may be I am asking too much :(

  6. This article brings up some valid points. Often when I’m at Best Buy or Costco shoppers glaze right by 3D-TVs and don’t even seem interested. I recently bought a 46 Samsung LED TV and love it. I couldn’t imagine having to wear glasses to watch TV either. This is a nice article Ryan.

  7. Well the 3d idea was cobbled together to try and re-sell HDTV’s to an America that just up and bought em like hotcakes around when, 07/08? It’s not actually wanted/needed/ready for anyone but marketers. 1st off, those awful glasses. they’re expensive, proprietary, and cause eye fatigue/ headache/ nausea. FAIL. 2nd is the viewing angle, again, not ready. 3rd: content is king. Is there any 3d content? really? Avatar and some sports, I’m fine with 2d for now tyvm. Axe the glasses, improve the viewing angle, put out a “must have” 3d video game (because 3d will be best showcased through interactive media like web browsing or microsoft kinect, not sitting on your couch), and stop being so pushy, and we will probably adopt 3dtv.

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  9. I have a 3D TV, it is fantastic. The problems is the TV’s are very expensive, as are the very, very limited 3d movies. Their are tens of thousands of DVD’s on the market to watch on regular 2D tv, yet only tens of 3D DVD’s to watch.

    With the six 3d movies I purchased, it cost me over $600.00 each to watch them, the cost will go down as I purchase more 3D movies. If you want to sell more 3D TV’s, then more good 3D content needs to be made available.

    And let’s face it, $150.00 each for glasses!!!!!!

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