Do Consumers Care About 3DTV?

Do Consumers Care About 3DTV?Guest blogger Zuhair of MrTechz writes:

Although 3D technology has been around for a long time, it was only a few years ago that 3DTVs first broke onto the scene. Since then, television vendors have been forcefully pushing 3DTVs on consumers and major companies have integrated 3D into most of their television sets. 3DTV sales are on the rise, but consumer interest in 3DTVs is questionable. Recent statistics show that the amount of consumers actually utilizing the 3D aspect in televisions that support 3D is decreasing. In a recent study, it was found that over 60% of US residents are not interested in upgrading to a 3D television. Despite this alarming statistic, it is expected that around 15 million 3D televisions will be sold next year; this indicates that a significantly large portion of 3DTVs shipped will be bought by customers. This raises the question: If consumers aren’t buying 3DTVs for the 3D technology, then what are they buying them for?

It is safe to conclude that statistics showing an increase in 3DTV purchases are misleading, as most television sets in the market support 3D by default. Consumers are basically forced to upgrade to 3D-enabled televisions if they are in the market to buy a high end TV, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they utilize the technology. TV manufacturers have been trying to convince customers to switch to 3D television since the technology first hit the market, but consumer interest in 3DTVs has gradually declined. One of the main reasons for this is simply due to the lack of 3D content being produced. It is almost as if broadcasters have lost interest and abandoned their ambitions of producing 3D content. You can’t blame them, though. The hype surrounding 3D television has worn off and broadcasters have realized that the expenses involved in making 3D content aren’t justifiable.

One of the biggest drawbacks of 3D technology in televisions is that users have to wear 3D glasses. If that weren’t enough, spare a thought for wearers of prescription glasses. The fact is, having to wear 3D glasses to utilize 3D televisions just isn’t a practical solution and, regardless of how comfortable or fashionable they make them, it won’t create a good user experience. It’s all well and good if you are going to a cinema to watch a 3D movie, but to have to wear 3D glasses while watching TV in your lounge is an inconvenience to say the least. The added expenditure combined with the impracticality of 3D glasses would be justifiable if the 3D experience provided by 3DTVs was of any notable quality, but this just isn’t the case. In fact, once you understand how 3D technology works, it will lead you to question the very existence of 3D and if it’s all just a gimmick presented to consumers to extract money out of them.

The concept on which 3D is based is flawed to an extent that the human brain may be incapable of interpreting 3D content. This is because 3D movies require the audience to focus their eyes on a particular distance and to converge at another. A 3D editor himself, Walter Murch, explained that while it isn’t impossible for us to conceive of 3D content, it is extremely difficult and can lead to headaches and eye strains. So when it comes down to it, 3D is basically an optical trick that is a bit of a hit and miss wonder at this stage. Although TV manufacturers are slowly improving the technology behind 3D and developing glasses-free 3D televisions, consumers have the right to question the need for 3D televisions. Have television vendors properly conducted a market analysis to see whether consumers are even interested in having 3DTVs at home? Because they may be shocked to find out that a solid 60% of residents in the US are not interested. I’m one of them, because I feel that 3DTVs have no place in a household.

Feedback suggests that, while consumers find 3D movies to be entertaining, they would not want it as an everyday experience in their house. Broadcasters have understood this; why can’t television manufacturers do the same? It’s about time that TV vendors accept the fact that 3DTVs are not going to trigger a technological revolution. They would be better off further developing 3D technology so that it offers something new. After so many decades, 3D hasn’t changed much and the time is nigh for television vendors to look into developing 3D technology into something that we have not seen before — like televisions that are capable of displaying 3D holographic images across the room. That would get consumers interested. 3D has the potential to be developed into something more than it currently is, and it would be a wise move for 3D manufacturers to focus their attention on how they can make 3D different to what it is now rather than persisting in promoting the current iteration of 3DTVs.

Are you among the majority who find today’s 3D technology lacking and not ready for everyday use in the home? Or do you like it enough, as is, to invest a good amount of money into what you feel is the latest and greatest? Drop us a line and give us your thoughts.

CC licensed Flickr photo of 3D glasses (and glasses and glasses) above shared by RCabanilla

Article Written by

Zuhair is a passionate freelance technology writer who specializes in social media, cloud computing and business management. He is currently studying Business Administration and aspires to be an online entrepreneur. In his spare time he enjoys working out and is an aviation enthusiastic.

  • Jasoco

    Nope. I have absolutely no interest at all in 3DTV. Whether it requires glasses or not.

    • Heydavis

       I agree 100% and I resent the manufacturers cramming this 3d  “feature” into the most premium models, forcing us to pay for what we don’t want (hmmm, I guess they learned from cable TV providers!).  I want a new TV with all the bells & whistles plus internet features, but NOT with 3-D.   The manufacturers also seem to think that everyone has a living room the size of Kansas, and only put the best improvements and features on the 47″ and larger sets.  Give us apartment-dwellers a break!

      If 3-D is such a good idea, why is it that all of Hollywood’s movies haven’t been done that way since the 1960’s?  It’s just an expensive gimmick and gives headaches!

      • William Xfilefan

         could not have said it better. I was forced into a 3d set in order to get the wireless function built in. Have used 3d 1 time in almost a year.

      • Casey Frennier

        I used to work on computers all day and play games on them all night and still not get headaches and eye strain like sitting in a 2 hour 3D movie.
        For me, it’s not really indifference as much as hating the tech.

        I agree it’s a gimic to upsell glasses. They probably make as much off the up-sale items like 3D glasses, popcorn, soda, and candy as they do the movie ticket in theaters if not more. 3D TVs create a need for 3D glasses and an up-sale opportunity that didn’t exist in the home before. You’ll need them so all your friends can come over and watch the game on your new TV that you want to show off. People that live in large families or multi-generational homes will need a set for everyone too. Other than games that already have it built in, you have to pay extra for 3D content & hardware too. Take clash of the titans on amazon for example on amazon the DVD is $7.36, the 2D Blu-Ray is $13.99 and the 3D Blu-Ray is $26.99. There has also been a slow adoption of Blu-Ray in general over DVD. Netflix also costs a few dollars more for Blu-Ray. Even at the blockbuster they cost more. For something that only entertains me for 2 hours (if that) of my life I’d rather plunk down less money per movie and watch more movies with my entertainment budget.

        I could even see where a parent, after going to a theater and experiencing the headaches and eyestrain, may not trust that 3d is even safe for children. And even if it is safe why put them through the headaches and eyestrain to watch a stupid movie? Why would the parent put themselves through the kid whining about it? It costs less to not have that problem so why bother?

        In summary it’s not something that I don’t care about as much as its something I want to avoid.

  • D Lowrey

    Reminds me of a technology in search of a purpose. For instance…was reading an article where the adult entertainment industry had developed a sensor suit for use when you watch the fare. It’s a whole body suit like they use in movies like “Avatar” and such. Might be a “gee-whiz” time during the first few minutes the first time you wore it…but who wants to wear something like that more than a few minutes? 3D at home is the same way. All ready wear glasses…why would I want to wear another pair for a movie at home?

  • Bjorke

    I have one, and I like it. If a TV can be 3D-capable simply because it can hit 120Hz and needs a $3 usb plug, why all the hate, guys? Don’t buy the glasses. Next you will ask why TV’s waste all that extra bandwidth on color.

    I suspect that those who discount it the most have never actually seen it. Watch one 3D tennis match, you’ll know a lot about 3D’s transformative power.

    As for Hollywood movies being in 3D, Hollywood moves are by default MEANT to be 2D rectangles, viewed in a room designed around a 2D rectangle. This is generally true even for live shows that have used the rectangular “fourth wall” of the stage. “All or nothing” thinking is… well, naive.

  • Chris Pirillo
  • Pixel Slinger

    The actual cost of adding 3D hardware is negligible.  Less than $10 in hardware to add the functionality.  When the cost of a high-end TV is over $2k, why would the vendor take the chance of shutting out a market segment over a pittance.

  • James camuso

    I am one that is not interested. I also believe HDTV should not be hyped so much.
    Yes the image is demonstrably higher in quality and the sharpness of the picture is amazing to the point of feeling immersed in the virtual background. Hence the comments about it almost like being there.
    But why? Is it just me or does everybody else get so excited to pay broadcasters to be taken to a fantasy. I suppose that is how the gaming industry is so large though. I have enough intelligence to understand that an image is reproduced for me on a flat or semi-curved screen for my entertainment. It is not real life and I will not try to shoot Jodie Foster if I am convinced I saw her in real life because my television image was so believable. Movies and TV shows are produced by directors and film crews to make a statement about life; not fool us into thinking we are there. Live a life. watch an opera or theatre production, or a television show for the art form it represents and enjoy or criticise for entertainment.

  • Sales Associate

    I think that most people still consider 3D to be a gimmick, seeing as how 3D movies only took off about two years ago. Another problem is the glasses. People don’t want to have to wear a peripheral to do something as simple as watch television. And lastly, being an early adopter is expensive, especially when it comes to something like TVs. There’s no rush, and that’s why people aren’t buying at the moment.

  • ABC567

    Well, personally I’m a 3D-stereo fan, I know all about 3D tech + electronic engineering and I have watched whole movies in anaglyph(!), but I haven’t bought a 3D TV yet, because I’m currently sort of money. Even if I had the money, I’d definitely prefer a 3D projector instead, since I watch movies in 90″ with a projector and I can’t imagine downgrading to 46-50″ or so.

    So here are my points:

    1. Size and purpose matters. 40-50″ TV is still a general purpose TV to watch the news, play games, watch dumb shows and occasionally, some movie.
    But if you had a normal tv and a 3D projector with a 90-100″ screen unfolding from the ceiling, that would turn your living room in a small cinema (home cinema) with the lights off (or low) with no other interaction with the environment, so you’d accept a pair of glasses for that special huge-screen home event to actually get *into* the movie!
    So, if 3D TV interest is going down, manufacturers should promote 3D projectors instead!

    2. Cost matters. Expensive glasses, expensive 3D Blu-rays, expensive TVs, while we are in the middle of a crisis, globally, what would you expect? People have real problems, virtual reality is their last priority!

    3. Quality matters. Above all, quality 3D movies or shows are rare! Most directors are using 3D cameras like they are shooting 2D, without paying any attention to 3D at all, so the 3D perception is destroyed or very poor! Probaly it doesn’t worth to wear glasses some times. Producing impressive 3D is an art by itself and therefore difficult. So you pay a high price for poor content, what would you expect?

    4. I agree with the author that technology hasn’t change much and they should have had developed something far more advanced like projection in 3D space.
    Unfortunately, one is inventing and one million is copying, as usual. There are not enough inventors to invent revolutionary technology, just copiers and wanaberich ones…