Now, the Chinese smartphone maker that can do no wrong, Xiaomi Technology, has introduced a 3D TV set with a 47-inch screen made by either Samsung or LG for $499. The devices are said to be Internet-ready using the Android operating system from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG).
Xiaomi, like all the other makers that came before, faces an almost insurmountable problem: the availability of good quality content in sufficient quantity to make the 3D TV worth the money. There is a limit to how many times consumers want to watch spears getting thrown at them through the TV set.
The lack of content essentially killed 3D as a feature, and there has been little demand for streaming or pay 3D TV. ESPN and the BBC are dropping their 3D broadcasts this year. DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) has cut its 3D channel to part-time operation, and a Sony-led partnership’s offering is virtually unknown.
What will sell this TV, which Xiaomi calls MiTV, is not its 3D capability, but its competitive price as a large-screen HD device with Internet capability built-in. As so often before, 3D is nothing but a gimmick, and Xiaomi is about to discover that.