Can We Stop Talking About 3D TVs Already? It’s Nothing But Hype
I don't know about you, but I am so sick and tired of hearing about 3D TVs and all the hype that surrounds them. For a product that barely exists in the market, I'm seeing way too many articles, quotes and marketing fluff surveys talking about how the 3D industry is going to be this huge business. Sure, 3D TVs might be a big business 5+ years from now, but it won't have any series impact on the market in the meantime. In fact, most analysts who track the market predict that only between 30-40M 3D capable sets will be sold by 2014. That's a very small number and nothing to get excited about.
Of course, that's not stopping companies like Sony who make the sets to predict that by next year, there will be a 3D TV set "in every home", referencing a specific region in Europe, not the U.S. But even still, how can Sony possibly think this? Consumers aren't even buying $150 Blu-ray players in large volumes yet, but Sony and others think people will drop a few grand for a 3D set sometime in the next few years? Most 3DTV sets won't even be out until late 2010 and you're going to have to wear glasses at all times to see anything in 3D. And the sets that don't require glasses, Panasonic says it will be, "at least 10 years before the technology is advanced enough to provide a similarly robust 3D experience without glasses". Ten years? Remind me why I am suppose to be excited about 3D TVs today?
Even with all those facts and numbers, I continue to see more and more surveys, like this one, that say consumers want 3DTV content. Duh. Of course we want better viewing experiences, but none of these surveys ever seem to say what consumers are willing to pay to get it. Depending on which analyst report you look at, the penetration rate of HDTVs in the U.S. isn't even at 50%, but we're suppose to be excited over 3DTVs and what might happen five or more years from now? The SMPTE isn't even suppose to deliver a 3DTV standard until sometime in 2011, although other organizations like CEA are working on their own standards as well.
3D TVs look great at CES and in product demos, but they do not represent what the average consumer is going to purchase anytime soon. How many consumers who spent $1,500 to upgrade to an HDTV this year are then going to be willing to spend another $2,000 three years from now to get a 3D experience? That's not realistic. 3D TVs may be the "future" but that future is not anytime soon. Weren't Internet connected TVs suppose to be the future as well? No question they have a better shot at adoption, but even their sales projections are low, under 5M sold in the next three years.
I'm tired of the TV manufactures and content owners trying to convince us what the next kind of technology is that we want, what we should be excited about as consumers or what we should be buying. We are the consumer, we decide with our wallets what we want. If content owners and TV manufactures continue to make big bets on 3D TVs being adopted in the next few years, they are going to be really disappointed when they lose.