Could Low Interest in 3DTV Hurt the TV Business?

Could Low Interest in 3DTV Hurt the TV Business?
Panasonic, who bet heavily on 3DTV just announced it expects an annual net loss of 5.5 billion dollars. Meanwhile Sony, another big booster of 3DTV says they are going to restructure their TV divisions in hopes of turning around their struggling TV business. We can’t say how sales of 3DTV sets are affecting these TV giants’ bottom lines but according to a recent Pulse Study, it looks like the market for 3DTV may not be doing quite as well as the TV and entertainment industry might like.
Lots of Buyers for HDTV But Not As Much Interest in 3DTV
Despite some struggling TV manufacturers, it looks like there are still plenty of consumers looking to buy new TVs. The study found one third of respondents saying they are planning on buying an HDTV set in the coming year. That’s a lot of TV buyers, but unfortunately for 3DTV set manufacturers only a small fraction of those who say they are going to buy an HDTV set want a set that supports 3D.
What Does It Mean for the Holiday Shopping Season?
Manufacturers and resellers are probably not going to see a lot of HDTV buyers asking for a 3D-capable set this holiday season but as the price premium drops as predicted in this past study (Retrevo Pulse predicts big drop in 3DTV price premium), consumers may go ahead and buy that 3DTV set. Unfortunately, more than half (55%) of HDTV buyers say they’re not interested in 3D even if the price difference is small.

Lack of Content and Glasses Are Still Big Obstacles
In past studies, the high price premium commanded by 3DTV sets was the biggest objection cited by buyers. As price premiums begin to erode we see the need for glasses and lack of compelling content to watch are becoming the big concerns among TV buyers as 30% of respondents say glasses are still a problem and 40% say there’s not enough programming to watch. Passive glasses could help but many who have seen them say the image isn’t as good as active glasses. Content will continue to be an issue until there are enough blockbuster shows in 3D like the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, and more movies like Avatar to make everyone want to go out and buy a 3DTV set.
Pop Quiz: What’s the Difference Between Passive and Active 3DTV Sets?
If you answered “I have no idea” you’d be in good company as we found over three quarters (75%) of respondents said they didn’t know. In case you were wondering, active shutter glasses require a battery and use a ”sync” signal from the TV to create the 3D effect. Active glasses are typically a little heavier than the less expensive passive glasses. Passive glasses are the type used in most movie theaters. Both types of glasses have their pros and cons which should only add to consumers’ confusion about 3DTV making it more difficult for buyers to decide and lengthen the acceptance period for 3DTV in general. The last thing the industry needs is a 3D glasses “format” war.
Will 3DTV Ever Catch On?
We feel there is still a rough road ahead for 3DTV as we see added confusion with the introduction of passive 3DTV and glasses-free 3DTV which so far is an unfulfilled promise. In our opinion, it could take another few years before either auto-stereoscopic (glasses-free) 3DTV looks good enough or 4K (Ultra High Definition) TVs make passive 3DTV look as good as active 3DTV. Of course if the price difference evaporates and consumers get 3D on their HDTV for “free,” then why wouldn’t anyone want to buy a 3DTV set? Just don’t count on a lot of consumers watching 3D on it until the content becomes more plentiful. Of course 3D gaming could be the wild card that might make 3DTVs more popular to buy.
About Retrevo Pulse Report
The Retrevo Pulse is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo.com. The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted exclusively for Retrevo in October of 2011, by an independent panel. The sample size was over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.
About Retrevo
Retrevo.com is one of the largest consumer electronics review and shopping sites in the world, helping people decide what to buy, when to buy, and where to buy. Retrevo uses artificial intelligence to analyze and graphically summarize more than 100 million real-time data points from across the web to give shoppers the most comprehensive, unbiased, up-to-date product information they need to make smart, confident purchasing decisions for electronics.
To contact Retrevo’s press department about this study, please email: press “at” retrevo “dot” com.

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