Consumers Not So Impressed With 3-D TV

As 3-D movies storm the box office, everyone is eager to bring the growing craze to their living room with a 3-D television. Everyone, that is, except for those who have actually seen a 3-D TV.

That’s the finding of a new study conducted by Nielsen on behalf of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing. While 52% of those viewing television in 3-D said it was a better experience than they expected, interest in the technology still dropped after testing it.

Objections to the technology generally centered on two points of contention: the price and the glasses. The latter seems to be a particular sticking point, with 57% citing the spectacles as their reason for not buying a 3-D set and 90% predicting that it would impair their ability to multitask while watching television. If 3-D TV is going to have a future, it seems likely that it will have to break free of the shackles of its glasses.

It should come as no surprise, then, that major manufacturers are in a race to develop a workable glasses-free (“autostereoscopic”) display. Philips plans to release a glasses-free model to consumers in three to five years, while Engadget reported late last month that Toshiba plans to release three models of their glasses-free 3-D TV by Christmas. Still, early reviews of glasses-free prototypes find the quality lacking, and it’s worth wondering whether the technology will get to the point that consumers are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a unit. If not, consumers may very well decide to settle for two dimensions (in HD, of course) for their living room.