Three reasons to buy a 3D TV, but don't believe them all
3D TV maker Panasonic has plenty of pitches. Which make sense?
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In fact, "Avatar" director James Cameron said earlier this month that he foresees a problem for 3D TV sales. The technology is ready now. The content is still a ways off. As fellow Horizons blogger Matthew Shaer wrote, Cameron "argued that the gap wouldn't be filled by movies, because films take too long to produce in 3D. Instead, Cameron said, viewers should expect to see a range of live 3D television – baseball games, for instance, are a natural fit. And live 3D TV isn't expensive to make."Skip to next paragraph
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On June 11, ESPN rolls out its 3D TV network. It will air 85 events by the end of the year. That works out to be about three "events" per week, though most will be clumped together in tournaments, such as the network's inaugural broadcast of World Cup matches. ESPN hinted that the rest of its 3D airtime would include reruns of past events. The appeal of such a channel depends on how much you care about the sports ESPN decides to film in 3D.
Gaming presents another 3D option on the horizon.
A display at the Panasonic event showed off "Need for Speed: Shift" running in 3D on a computer. More than a dozen other PC games support the feature, according to the representative. However, consoles, which have become America's preferred platform for hardcore games, have fallen behind the trend. The chips inside the PS3 and Xbox 360 are several generations out of date, he says. Sony disagrees and says 3D PS3 are around the corner. (The Nintendo DS will get a glasses-free 3D update, but that doesn't help Panasonic's case.)
Bridging these gaps will likely become a chicken-and-egg problem. If 3D TVs take off, studios will throw money at producing content more quickly. But will people buy 3D if there are few things to watch on them?
This closely reflects the early woes on Blu-ray, which took more than a year after defeating HD-DVD before sales figures could start climbing.
Reason three: Wait and get 3D anyway
Patient shoppers will probably not need to decide whether a 3D TV is worth the extra money.
"In a few years, I think 3D will come on most TVs" just as HD is now the baseline for television sets, says Gene Kelsey, the company's US director of sale support. "It will be yet another feature – something that people come to expect."
To be clear, Mr. Kelsey never said people should "wait" to buy a 3D set. He argues that 3D TVs provide the best 2D picture. Smart shoppers – especially those that skipped the HD generation – should strongly consider future-proofing their living room by getting a 3D set now, Kelsey says.
But his forecast seems correct. Pretty much every TV available at big-box stores now comes with an HD sticker in the corner. HD is no longer a selling point. It's just a fact.
First came color televisions. Then HD took over. Soon, Kelsey predicts, 3D will join the list of standard features for TVs. Turn on 3D when you want to, turn it back to 2D when you're done. At that point, shoppers can forget about the premium TV pricing and just buy the content they want – whether it includes signing up for ESPN 3D, getting the eventual "Avatar" 3D Blu-ray, or driving a digital car through a video game track.
What do you think? Should TV shoppers consider 3D TVs now? How much would you pay for the extra dimension? Let us know in the comments section below.