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 Switched On: The two sides of 3DTV 
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)
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Without a doubt, 3D was the keystone feature touted by every major TV and Blu-ray player manufacturer at CES 2010. But the 3D technology we'll see this year asks more of consumers than previous reinventions. As with HD, they will need new TVs, new video sources, and optimized content like Avatar to make the experience worthwhile.

But consumers will also likely need glasses -- and not particularly fashionable glasses -- to experience the 3D effect. It's a lot to ask customers, given just-completed 10-year transition to digital and high-definition television. Compare that to the roughly 30-year gap that separated the mainstream arrival of color and the first HDTV in the U.S.

It also remains to be seen how strong of a marketing push major electronics companies will put behind 3D. The shift to HD was aided by a government mandate that coincided with the shift from over-the-air analog broadcasts to digital broadcasts. And before there was much HD content on television, consumers embraced the dramatic form-factor shift from CRT to flat-panel televisions -- HD often just came along for the ride.

Major brands are eager to generate excitement for 3D, so they can command a premium and escape the spiral of commoditization. 3D is the highest priority for the Blu-ray camp in 2010. And even if 3D's chief backers make a strong push for a few years, they may shift attention away from 3D as OLED becomes more viable. OLED can improve the display of all content, not just a small sample of it.It's unclear whether 3D can truly become the third great TV revolution on par with HD -- but perhaps it doesn't have to.

Speaking of content, sports and movies are two important genres that can help drive adoption of 3D, just as they did with HD, although shooting live sports in 3D may be even more challenging than it was in the early days of HD. But 3D can't help everything. Even movies that are decades old -- for example, Blu-ray releases of Disney animated classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves -- look great when transferred HD. In contrast, it is difficult to recreate a 2D movie in 3D. (Exceptions include computer-rendered animated films such as the early Toy Story movies from Pixar.) Remember Ted Turner's experiments in colorizing black-and-white movies?

For these and other reasons, it's unclear whether 3D can truly become the third great TV revolution on par with HD -- but perhaps it doesn't have to. In the shorter term, at least, 3D could reach sustainable penetration level similar to other higher-end technologies like LED backlighting, high refresh rates, and internet connectivity have.

Like many other higher-end features, 3D will simply be part of a feature set that will attract buyers regardless of its inclusion. And as we've seen with these other high-end features, consumers are likely to opt for them as the cost comes down and the price difference between equipped and non-equipped models dwindles. That may never reach the difference between the price of a movie ticket to see a 3D versus a 2D movie, but it could soon reach the point where consumers are willing to experience the "right" content.

Ross Rubin is executive director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group. Views expressed in Switched On are his own. ... s-of-3dtv/

Got a release or 3D news story to share? Email, and we'll put it up!


Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:04 pm
3D Angel Eyes (Moderator)
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He brings up some good points. We will see what really happens.

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Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:04 pm
One Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:27 am
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I somewhat agree... I believe that 3D will be somewhat of a nitch market. Just as home theaters have become. For the full 3D experience you need an environment that will support it. Which includes your room setup and sound. As far as I know most of my friends don't even have surround sound. Or a a flat panel TV. I think it will be content driven though... as long as there are movies people want to see in 3D there will be people wanting 3D in there home. As soon as support for the content disappears so will the demand. Thats why I'm glad to hear some TV stations are already starting to look at broadcasting in 3D. The only downside I see is that the 3D stations will likely be more money onto your bill.

Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:24 pm
Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:53 pm
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Negative comments ugh!! Like these Tech Nerds would represent the genral public yet when it's OLED or 4K that cost more and have less content than 3D and they praise it. It like a double standard :roll: :roll:

Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:58 pm
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