Product News
How Are Your 3D Demos?
A recent visit to Best Buy showed me that retailers need to step it up for 3D to take off.
August 03, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Have you been to a retailer or specialty electronics store and gotten a great 3D demo?

I recently spent time in a Best Buy, and aside from one of the blue shirts actually giving me a five-minute presentation (I didn’t ask for one anyway), I decided to check out how the company, or at least this particular store, was pitching 3D.

Let’s just say I was underwhelmed.

Not by the 3D technology itself—aside from this year’s CES, I haven’t seen it in action, and the Monsters vs. Aliens Blu-ray clip being looped on a beautiful Samsung 3D flat-panel was highly entertaining. And the 3D experience of it, even wearing the active-shutter glasses, was quite good. If there were tons of such movies available in the format and I were shopping for a TV, the demo would provide a compelling case.

However, there were a few things with this particular Best Buy that I found disappointing, and I’m guessing it isn’t unique to my local store. For one thing, the recently redesigned store has its entire wall of TVs in the far back ... but the TVs are across from the little sitting nook where the 3D demonstration showcase is.

While a wall of TVs is quite cool, it’s not as fun when during the dark 3D scenes as you’re trying to concentrate on what you’re viewing instead you can’t help but see a reflection of several flat-panels showing video in “torch” mode. It was a good demo of how not to set up a TV in your own home (try not to place it across from windows that cannot be covered, so as not to turn your flat-panel into a dark mirror).

The other major disappointment was that in an area of the store that was a little more conducive to viewing 3D, not as distracted by other TVs’ reflections, another clip was playing but I could not view it in 3D. This TV was showing last season’s USC-Ohio State football game that had been broadcast in 3D, so something more real-world than 3D animation for a change. But rather than have the active-shutter glasses tethered there for customers, there was nothing. Obviously, I understand that glasses could be ripped off if left there, even tethered to furniture, but I think rather than having customers potentially be intimidated or turned off by being forced to go to an often-unmanned customer service desk, wouldn’t it make more sense to have the glasses kept by the TV?

Also, with seemingly every TV being put on shelves these days featuring the 3D capability, more than two demo areas to show off the technology may be warranted. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for a portion of the big TV wall to start displaying the 3D content, as that’s the wall that gets all most of the shoppers’ attention at every Best Buy I walk into it seems.

How have your experiences been? Let us know in comments below.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

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