Toshiba has introduced a 3D TV that does not require consumers to wear the odd glasses that people must wear to view movies using the technology. Many electronics companies say that 3D TV will be critical to their future sales and earnings.
The privilege of not having to wear special glasses is not cheap. The larger version of the new screens will cost $2,900. Toshiba says that viewers are better off with its small screen however. That unit only costs $1,400. The 3D TVs will be available in Japan now. It is not clear when they will come to the US.
The AP reports that a viewer must sit 20 inches to 36 inches from the screen, depending on its size. Why anyone would sit that close to a TV is anyone’s guess.
3D was all the rage in movies, especially in action films. The attraction of the experience may have begun to fade. Shares in 3D technology provider IMAX (NASDAQ: IMAX) have fallen from their 52-week high of $21.30 to as low as $9. That indicates that Wall Street is not convinced that 3D has a tremendous future.
The problem with 3D TV sales is that consumers may be happy with 2D. Consumers, in fact, may be satisfied with the television experience they have had since the dawn of the flat screen TV and DVD.
Sales of Blu-ray high-definition players and disks have been slow. The release of the blockbuster “Avatar” on Blu-ray has helped spur sales a bit, but that improvement has only been temporary. It seems that without really successful movies that lend themselves to Blu-ray, that sales will remain tepid.
No one can say that Blu-ray DVD and 3D TV are the same or even directly related. But, it is worth questioning how many gadgets the typical American wants in his living room. He already has a game console that probably is Blu-ray enabled. He has a cable or fiber connection for TV and fast internet. He may have a Video-On-Demand product from a provider like NetFlix (NASDAQ: NFLX), and a capacity to record shows that are on when he cannot watch them. He almost certainly has a PC or Mac along with all that to help make his entertainment experience interactive.
While the consumer figures out the technology he has now, and allots the time he can give to his entertainment, he may decide to wait for the “next best thing,” or he may not buy it at all.
Douglas A. McIntyre