3D TV technology improving, but not catching on with consumers

Has 3D technology  found its home audience? Steve Scaggs, an expert on high-end entertainment technology at Best Buy, said 3D devices have reached their “adolescence.” 

Scaggs points out that there are many more televisions available with 3D capabilities compared to a few years ago and there are affordable models out there, with some starting as low as $600.

“A 3D television offers an experience for viewing, especially when it comes to watching sports and playing many video games,” Scaggs said.

Scaggs said those in search of a 3D experience have two main options available: passive and active. Passive, he said, is 3D viewing in which the image jumps off the screen toward the viewers. Active offers a more real life feeling in which a viewer feels immersed in the screen and feels part of the vision.

“There’s more depth and layers with active 3D,” Scaggs said. “It almost feels like you are pulled inside the TV.”

As much of an experience 3D viewing -- which dates back to 1915 -- and gaming can be, Scaggs said, he admits it’s not something for everyone.

“There are some people who have complained of headaches or motion sickness, while others just don’t want to have to wear glasses to view something in 3D,” said Scaggs, who added that 3D glasses required for sets can range from $20 to $150.

“As far along as the technology has come, it’s still viewed as cumbersome by many. Last year, the manufacturers pushed 3D as a selling point, but it didn’t take off as much as they would have liked. Now, it’s viewed more as a complimentary option to go along with interactivity and wireless capabilities. The success of the movie Avatar and IMAX has led to a greater interest in 3D, but the mass appeal as a primary reason to purchase something is not there yet.”

Organizations that follow technology selling trends appear to agree with Scaggs’ assessment.

According to a 2012 survey by The New York-based The NPD Group, just 14 percent of consumers interested in, or expecting to purchase, a flat-panel television say 3D is a “must have” feature while 68 percent say it’s a “nice feature to have they may use in the future.”

The survey found the necessity of 3D glasses, the cost of TVs and accessories and access to content all remained deterrents to consumers. This was also brought to light when ESPN announced it would shut down its 3D channel by the end of the year due to low adoption of 3D at home.

“3D has been a success for the television market from a sales perspective.” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group in a statement. “However, few consumers cite watching content in 3D as a reason for purchasing a TV, indicating that other factors such as screen size, resolution, and Internet connectivity hold more importance.”

Bennii Denrich believes there is a bright future for 3D devices in the marketplace.

Denrich has been in the film, TV and live media post-production industry for the past 13 years, and is currently a senior designer/editor for a media development company in Philadelphia catering to fortune 500 companies.

“The technology for 3D has just improved by leaps and bounds,” Denrich said. “It’s used in all types of industries ranging from slot machines in casinos for entertainment to surgeons looking to get a better examination of a patient prior to an operation. The possibilities are endless. It won’t be that long before the technology becomes more accessible and less cumbersome for the general public.”

Print this article Back to Top