In-Stat recently published the results of a consumer survey designed to measure attitudes about 3D television in the home. The survey found that 64% were at least somewhat interested, and one out of four overall were either “very” or “extremely” interested. That’s a high level of interest for a new technology, and demonstrates that there is already considerable pent-up demand for 3D television.
The survey also found that 68% don’t want to spend more than $200 extra for a television that supports 3D. That may sound like a problem, but consider that this. The extra cost for the new 120 Hz technology for LCD HDTVs already about $200 or less than the cost of traditional designs. And the difference in image quality that it creates by reducing motion blur is far more subtle that the 3D effects. In the store displays, the difference between 3D and regular televisions will literally jump out at the consumer.
It wasn’t mentioned in the In-Stat press release, but it is most likely that 3D-capable televisions will require the use of active glasses. This means that the extra cost will be in the glasses, making it easier for TV manufacturers to make 3D-support a standard feature at little or no additional cost. Consumers will be able to buy a future-proof 3D-capable set, and then buy the glasses when the amoung of available 3D content reaches an attractive level.
Also not mentioned in the press release is the widely-held belief that consumers won’t want to wear “dorky” glasses in order to watch 3D at home. I don’t believe that’s accurate. You have to wear glasses in order to see 3D movies at the local cinema, and already millions of people have demonstrated that they are willing to pay extra for the experience.
Panasonic and Sony have both announced major campaigns to promote 3D-capable home entertainment products in 2010. It may take a few years more before there is sufficient content to make 3D-capable TVs a significant portion of the worldwide flat panel market, but the movement has already started and it’s gaining momentum. When you buy a new television three or four years, there’s a reasonable chance that your choice will be able to display 3D content.
Note: GigaOM Pro is a market research firm that has just published my report “3DTV Market Ready for Takeoff” at http://pro.gigaom.com/2009/10/3dtv-market-analysis/. The report is part of the company’s low-cost subscription service, and more information is available at their Web site.