The jury is still out as to whether or not 3D will be the next big thing in consumer electronics. Big-name manufacturers like LG, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and Sony are betting on it, either having already released 3D TVs or planning to in the near future.
You can bet that by next year, there will be many choices dotting the 3D landscape, but will those choices be affordable enough to get you to actually go out and buy a new TV, Blu-ray player or gaming console?
According to a survey by In-Stat, it doesn’t seem likely. While more than 64 percent of those surveyed were at least somewhat interested in 3D technology, only about 25 percent of those people were willing to spend extra for the 3D technology. In fact, 43 percent said they’d like to spend less than $200 for it. However, when it came to 3D content, 67 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to pay more for a 3D version of a Blu-ray disc then a 2-D version.
So how big will the premiums be for 3D TVs, players and discs? Manufacturers are keeping pricing info close to their chests. Although Sony and Panasonic both plan to release their first 3D models in 2010, neither company would comment on the expected price tag of those units. At $2,199, Mitsubishi’s 65-inch (WD65837) 3D-ready TV is priced lower than other 65-inch 2D TVs currently on the market.
Besides price, what else could hinder 3D sales? Having to wear those dorky glasses, perhaps? Not likely, says a study by Quixel Research. The study found that while some people consider the glasses a nuisance, they’re not annoying enough to most to break the deal. Still, when given a choice, many said they would pay more for a 3D TV that requires no glasses. Comfy? Yes. The best option? Probably not.
One of the major disadvantages of 3D technology that requires no glasses is poor viewing angle, says David Naranjo, Mitsubishi director of product development. “Once the viewing angle is off center, the consumer loses the 3D effect.”
What might be more of a roadblock, though, is the availability of 3D content, namely 3D content besides movies. “Sports would be a killer app,” says Bob Scaglione, Sharp senior vice president of product and marketing group. According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, there are fewer than a dozen 3D discs available currently.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.