3D has been on the cusp of breaking into our homes for a few years now, but consumers have tended kept their wallet in their pocket even though a wide range of 3D TVs and other devices are now available. Here’s what broadcasters and TV manufacturers need to address to make this technology popular.
1. Finding 3D content
3D TV’s lack of mainstream adoption means fewer 3D broadcasts than to regular ones. So, owners of 3D TV sets are only getting access to a small number of 3D shows in return for their purchase. It’s the chicken and egg story all over again; more 3D broadcasts will probably only follow when more consumers buy 3D TV sets…but, of course, consumers only want to buy into 3D when they see more 3D shows appearing in the TV guide!
Consumers can now create their own 3D content by using a 3D photo camera. These niche gadgets have been rare so far due to their high manufacturing cost compared to mainstream camera. For example, a 3D camera requires two lenses rather than one and there are only certain places where their images can be viewed in 3D. Common operations such as printing a 3D photo or emailing it to someone become problematic.
The other significant 3D content platform is Nintendo’s 3DS. This handheld games console recently received an $80 price cut, presumably for missing Nintendo’s sales expectations. The 3DS has sold a lot of units however, and there are plenty of 3D titles available.
2. The 3D experience
Unfortunately, many people have experienced headaches and nausea when using the Nintendo 3DS. The 3D effect on the Nintendo 3DS can actually be dialled down and completely turned off, although this obviously negates the headline feature. It didn’t help matters when Nintendo itself seemed concerned about children under 6 years of age using the 3D feature of the 3DS.
Viewers sometimes also report experiencing headaches or nausea when watching 3D TV, and this problem has continued to hold back many from buying these sets. After all, watching TV should be about relaxing, not about needing to go for a lie down afterwards!
Some of the newer technologies are moving towards glasses-free 3D, wherein the 3D effect works as long as the viewer is standing in a specific place relative to the screen. I saw several of these sets at CES this year, but unfortunately, many people around me weren’t able to perceive the effect without using glasses.
However, glasses-free technology definitely makes more sense from a consumer’s perspective, especially if you already wear glasses. Putting 3D glasses on top of regular glasses is an inconvenience. These sets are not widely available as a mass market option just yet.
3. The cost of 3D
So, with a lack of content and a sub-optimal viewing experience in many cases, one might expect stores to be selling off 3D TV sets for cheap to reel in consumers.
That’s certainly been Nintendo’s approach in cutting the price of the 3DS so significantly. But sadly, most 3D TVs still cost significantly more than most regular HD TVs and the glasses are expensive, often costing around $150 per pair.
The costs quickly add up for a family wanting to buy glasses for everyone, and hosting a 3D Superbowl party quickly becomes prohibitive because friends can’t always bring their glasses to watch your 3D TV set. We’re still waiting for a 3D glasses standard to become adopted across the industry, so glasses for one manufacturer’s 3D TV would be certain to work with another manufacturer’s set.
Of course, if you’re ready to take the plunge on 3D then I hope you have a wonderful experience! I’ll be waiting a little longer to see how this market sector continues to develop over the coming year or two.
About the Guest Blogger: Neil Berman is the owner of TheONbutton in Durham (link: http://www.durhamcomputerservices.com/), which helps people with computers and technology at home and work. Neil founded TheONbutton because he loves technology and understands that not everyone feels the same way! Throughout Neil’s twelve years of professional career experience at Deloitte, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank, computers were always at the center of his work. Neil holds the CompTIA A+ certification for IT Support, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and qualified in London as a UK Chartered Accountant.