Will the 3DTV Market Live Up To Its Promises?

3D televisions are the talk of the town. Right? Well, yes and no. 3D sounds amazing, and all the major models are on board but is it part of our future or just a passing fad?

Will this be like Blu-Ray? Blu-Ray was supposed to be one of the hottest new tickets in town, but their sales have still been limping along.

Current numbers are dismal but according to DisplaySearch, sales are on the rise. Are people really even buying these TV’s now? If so,where? What did I miss?

DisplaySearch projections show that 3D TV sales will jump from 3.4 million this year to over 42.9 million by 2014, with some projections as high as 90 million. They are also expected to grow from their current 5 percent to over 37 percent of all flat panel TV sales by 2014.

Some of the main problems facing the 3D TV market are:

  1. high prices
  2. energy efficiency
  3. functionality (Can we still comfortably watch 2D on the new 3D TV? Isn’t wearing 3D glasses all the time going to get annoying?)
  4. content availability,
  5. the need to wear 3D glasses just to watch a movie in your own living room.

High Prices

We all know that the exorbitant costs of new technologies will come down after the initial release. However, it is easy to be overwhelmed, many folks having spent beau coup bucks already on HDTVs. The HDTVs have a great picture and sound and until recently, even the smallest of them would run you over $500. Now they can be had for around $200. But the HDTVs, the ones we were promised were so very special, cannot run 3D content on their own.

Right now, if you have Blu-Ray and 3D glasses, you can watch that movie in 3D, otherwise if you want 3D at home, you’ll need to fork over the money again and in most cases, you’ll need the 3D glasses for everyone in your home who will be watching TV at the same time. So, for your family of six, the cost just went up exponentially. You get the idea.

Content Availability

Content is still a critical issue as well. As much as everyone would be willing to roll out their 3D copy of Avatar, day-to-day use is going to have its peaks and valleys. While companies like ESPN have experimented with some 3D sports events on its schedule such cases are currently the exception rather than the rule.

When it comes to content, while the technology is there, there’s a question of whether 3D is really a fad that Hollywood is going to get over. Films like the remake of Clash of the Titans tried to capitalize on the 3D trend by inserting last minute 3D treatments to a movie shot in 2D. The resulting affect was badly panned by critics and audiences. Blockbusters have also skipped on the technology. The last two movies of the Harry Potter franchise decided to go without 3D and Christopher Nolan, the director of the Batman films, released Inception that became a hit without 3D as well. Nolan said he will concentrate more on IMAX technology for the movies he makes and in fact will be releasing the next Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, sans 3D and focusing on IMAX.

So does that mean that you will have a 3D set with very little 3D content? Perhaps. It will mean that the 3D experiences you do have are going to have to knock your socks – and your glasses off.


There is some good news on the horizon. First, according to TV manufacturers we will still be able to watch plain old 2D content on the new 3D sets. Also, according to CNET.com manufacturers are working on developing 3D technology that doesn’t require wearing glasses. 3D TVs from makers like Toshiba, who is expected to release both 12” and 20” sets by year’s end. Sharp is working on a prototype for smaller screens, like netbooks and cell phones. Pretty cool, I guess.

Currently, BestBuy.com is selling a Samsung 50”, Flat Screen 3D ready TV with 2 free pair of glasses for only $989.99! They have 3D TV’s all the way up to about $5,000.

3D glasses alone are starting at $150 – $200 for battery operated adult sized. I will say this for sure, if you have a bunch of friends over, I’d have them BYOG (Bring Your Own Glasses).

About Mike Koehler

Mike Koehler is the New Media Director for Schnake Turnbo Frank | PR, the largest and oldest public relations firm in Oklahoma. Mike consults with clients about the best use of tools on the Internet, Web strategy and social media policy. Mike blogs regularly at www.smirknewmedia.com and is working on his first book to be published in 2010. Mike lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and three kids.

You can find Mike on Twitter: @mkokc.

2 Responses to Will the 3DTV Market Live Up To Its Promises?

  1. Nice post Mike…looking forward to a 3D one day