I’m covering the Consumer Electronics Show next month, and I imagine that, like last year, the square footage that isn’t covered by tablets and cell phones will be filled with 3-D TVs. The consumer electronics industry really, really needs you to lust after 3-D TV, because otherwise, they fear, you’ll stick with the same LCD or plasma set you bought a few years ago that’s HD but not 3-D.
And then comes this headline from GigaOM:
It’s based on Nielsen data that shows less than a quarter of consumers worldwide are likely to buy a 3-D set, and, at least in America, the people who say they’re unlikely to buy one are apparently fervent in their opposition. Only 3% of Americans say they’re likely to buy one in the next year; only an additional 3% say they’ll ever buy one. And an earlier Nielsen study contained even worse news for the 3-D folks, finding that after people experience 3-D TV for themselves, they’re LESS likely to want a 3-D set.
That is not promising.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my 3-D experiences have been pretty unimpressive. I’ve tried to watch 3-D TV, but it looks the way 3-D looked when I was a kid and they made you wear those blue and red cardboard “glasses”: flat figures in front of each other, with dim, indistinct colors and blurring. It’s a novelty for about a minute, then it’s annoying and I want to take off the glasses. I’m not an anti-3-D campaigner, just someone who doesn’t see the need to spend even a dime more for the experience. 2-D is good enough, even if blue creatures are zooming across the screen. And most of the movies and TV shows I watch don’t lend themselves to “improvement” via 3-D, even if the idea of what “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” or “Community” would do with 3-D might be amusing. Or disgusting. Likely both.
It’ll be interesting to see what the set manufacturers will be saying about studies like this at CES. What about you? Are you buying? Are you waiting until the price premium for 3-D is negligible? Do the glasses make a difference — are you going to wait until that magical day when the glasses are no longer necessary? Or are you going to hold out, period? There are a lot of people betting huge money that you’ll succumb. No wonder CES is in Vegas.