Published February 22, 2011 by Steve Donovan
"This one. 40 inches. 120 hertz. Look at the price," he turns around and leads me down the aisle and turns back to me and poses while points, "and this one. 40 inches. 120 hertz. Price." He looks me straight in the eye as if he were gauging my comfort. "Now. This next one is the best deal but everybody turns and runs away when I tell them one thing about this television. "46 inches. 240 hertz," His teeth carefully articulate the price, "Twelvvvvve. NineTEE nine." His eyebrows raise and his eyes fix on me. This television salesman obviously knows that everyone quivers when they hear this last part: " and it has 3D." Everyone, he tells me, turns around after they get told that it has 3D playback capability.
I was just as guilty, "I don't need 3D."
"Then don't use it." He was absolutely right.
The best tv's--at the best prices--are in 3D. It's almost an add-on to the higher end high def televisions. After all the hoopla and fanfare behind this new technology, I wondered why 3D had not just become something unpopular but something that is feared--or even hated. Little do those fearful customers know is that, I predict, 3D is sneaking into your house by 2018. Estimates show that 10 million 3D units will be getting into homes in the United States. My first question to the author of this statistic would be, "Why? Why would the demand be the high?" What I assumed was that the demand would be there. The demand is not there. Nor will it be.
In 2009, bloggers and reviewers alike bawked at the idea of rolling out 3D high def sets. It's a cumbersome thing to learn and understand. There was no public outcry for such an extravagant thing. Consider this: Nobody was yelling for it in the movie theaters either. Yet, from 2008 to 2009, 3D production and revenue jumped from $240 million to over $1 billion. So, there is a market. Still...how would it get into our house? Consider this... At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, 3D set producers were once again trying to push 3D integration. This year's CES 3D HDTV preview was a little different for a couple reasons. One primary reason--they were excited to show it off was because they're getting a handle on "passive" 3D. This allows consumers to buy 3D sets and use simple, cheaper 3D glasses that you would use in a movie theater. Over the past three years, 3D set producers could only effectively produce "active" 3D sets. These tout more expensive, clunky glasses that would have a purchase price around $150 a pair. Tough buy for a family..."Honey! I'm getting you guys glasses for Christmas! Happy Holidays!" Passive 3D Technology is cheaper when it comes to accessories.
So, still, why would people run these 3D sets into their homes? Because cheap glasses? No.
I bought a printer last week and realized it had wifi and Bluetooth capabilities. Wow--surprise! AND my television has internet capabilities via wifi technology. Along with that, I have the opportunity to access YouTube, Hulu Plus and the list goes on for a while. More and more products are gaining access to wireless technology. It's a feature that being placed into many devices to help it gain flexibility. With wireless technology, you can view more video from more providers in more ways. But, you won't know it unless you use it. And more people have this than ever before. Was there a demand? Not really. But it found its way into virtually every device produced after 2008. So, what would this mean to people purchasing sets? Would they want to buy 3D because they have WiFi? No. It's a combination of all these things. And more.
3D may become that thing in your tv that your kid knows how to run and the glasses make for good presents. 3D may be that thing that the kids know how to run and you see it in action and it's pretty damn cool, so you figure it out. It's there but you just don't take advantage of it. 3D tv's aren't strictly 3D. It's a feature, like WiFi, that you can use when/if you want to use it. And it can live in your tv and you wouldn't even know it. You don't buy the tv for the 3D but the 3D comes with it. And, one night, when your son or daughter orders "Caddyshack 3D" off the iTunes app in your tv, you see how cool it can be, so you want to learn to use it.
I walked out of the store, an owner of 3D tv but I didn't want the 3D. The salesman told me, "You can sit here and check out Sony's 3D while we get your set onto the loading dock." I sat down and put the glasses on but I didn't really need to see something I didn't want. The salesman walked away and the panorama of the ocean came out of the television in front of me. The little girl sitting next to me sort of sighed, "Whooooooooa." "Yea." I said. And it was like I was looking into a crystal ball of millions of houses in the future. But that won't be for a while. Like 2018. Until then, we will all cringe when we hear, "It's a 3D tv."