3DTV Boom Fails to Materialize

While 3DTV has captured the imaginations of some consumers, most are unmoved, an online poll by Vision Critical shows. Only five percent of Americans, two percent of Britons, and one percent of Canadians have a 3DTV set at home.

Moreover, the skeptics are not likely to turn into purchasers within the next six months. They include 81 percent of Americans and Britons, and 95 percent of Canadians. This is despite high levels of awareness, with more than four out of five consumers in each nation familiar with the technology.

Reasons for not purchasing 3DTV include the cost of sets and the inconvenience of glasses. Vision Critical's Matt Kleinschmidt said 3DTV's "significant lack of value" was a particular problem for early adopters of HDTV who recall how little HD programming there initially was and how rapidly HD hardware prices dropped. "It seems these same consumers may have learned their lesson and are sitting on the sidelines of the initial 3DTV technology wave," said the analyst.

Among those who have taken the plunge, Sony, Samsung, and LG are the most popular brands, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that 3DTV has sunk to commodity pricing a surprisingly short time after the wave first lapped up on retail shores. It's now less a wave than a feature among many. Retailers, faced with an inventory glut, "have dismantled special displays and sections that highlighted 3DTVs," says the newspaper. Behind-the-scenes tussles over standards haven't helped matters.

See Vision Critical press release and The Wall Street Journal.

AVtheaterguy's picture

Whether or not 3D has captured the imagination or thoughts of the public can be debated all day long.

The reality of the subject is this...

If you purchased ANY 240hz LCD or LED from Samsung last year (2010 product line), you bought a 3D TV. If you purchased ANY SONY 240hz with exception only to the NX800 series, you bought a 3D TV.

If you purchased the 7000 or 8000 series plasma of any size from Samsung last year, you got a 3D TV.

So basically if you bought any of the upper end TVs from any of the Manufacturers last year, you were almost guaranteed to be getting a TV that was 3D capable.

This year in 2011, the ante is upped again because nearly HALF of every TV manufacturers Line-Up is 3D capable.

Heck there are 720p plasmas with 3D this year.

In the Case of Sony and Samsung, and I think Sharp as well, if you're buying a TV with 240hz or better, you are getting a 3D TV.

I'm not going to speak about the glasses. If end users want them, then they buy them.

So to me all the Vision Critical and WSJ articles says is that people in 2010 primarilyt bought Televisions that were lower in down in the lines. And that totally follows suit with the fact that 720p 42" and 50" plasmas went off the shelves like hotcakes.

For 2011, expect to see 3D sell a lot more because MORE TV MODELS ARE 3D.

Now even some 120hz models have 3D built into them.


If you're shopping for a new TV this year, and you want an awesome 240hz LED/LCD, or a great Plasma like an upper model Panasonic, Samsung, or LG, guess what, you're almost guaranteed to be getting a 3D capable display!!! HOW COOL IS THAT???

Also, having the capability of displaying a 3D picture on your screen DOES NOT HURT YOUR 2D PERFORMANCE. If anything the better processors for doing 3D only add to the 2D picture quality.

Bottom line, don't be scared if your salesman says that a TV has the 3D feature, cuz people...Its just a feature, not a class. LCD is a class, 46" is a class, netflix is a feature, 3D is a feature.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
You are exactly right that 3D is nothing more than a feature of certain TVs...at first, the high-end models; now, everything from the middle of the pack on up. Also, I agree that a TV with 3D capability is likely to have better 2D performance. If you want a top-performing TV, it will have 3D capability; if you don't want to use that particular capability, don't. It's just like other features such as dynamic contrast, which I turn off, and frame interpolation, which Tom Norton turns off.
maj0crk's picture

First off, AVtheaterguy is right. Want a high end TV? Good luck finding one without 3D.
This hasn't stopped Home Theater, Sound & Vision & Widescreen Review from pushing them via article after article after article.
Meanwhile, a new category, ultra-widescreen, is attempting to squeeze into the news. So far, only Vizio has re-announced it's intentions to bring them to market (2010's CES introduced them, but they never appeared. They've reintroduced them again this year under a new name with new features). Phillips has a model that's been available in Euroland for over a year. Other than a mention in WideScreen Review's New Products section, nary an article appears in any magazine.
Long available in overhead projectors, ultra wides eliminate those pesky black bars to fill the entire screen with a cinema-like picture. The only question is how well they do this with Blu-Ray & TV programs. Only testing by the aforementioned publications will answer this. So far, only a peep.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

All the home-theater magazines and websites write a lot about 3D because it's big news these days, with many products available. Love it or hate it, we cover it because there's lots to cover.

On the other hand, there are no ultra-widescreen TVs available in the US, so there's nothing to cover, other than announcements at CES, etc. You can be sure that Home Theater will review such a set as soon as one becomes available in the US.

BTW, I profiled the Philips 21:9 LCD TV on UAV two years ago:


I also covered the Vizio ultrawide at CES 2010 here:


and at CES 2011 here:


As for front projectors, we test the anamorphic and/or lens-zoom capabilities of all projectors we review if they have any such features. Of course, this requires a 2.35:1 screen to eliminate those pesky black bars.

maj0crk's picture

And here I thought I caught ALL the CES 2011 content. Thanks for that, Scott.
From your response to Vizio's 21:9s presentation, I conclude you look forward to this as much as I do. As for their introducing these sets this summer, we heard this at last years CES. According to WideScreen Review, Vizio has now added 3D, so perhaps they witheld the sets to incorporate it.

insman1132's picture

It happened when they intro'd Color TV. It happened when they intro'd HDTV. And now its happening again when they intro 3D TV. 3D will catch on when the networks begin to broadcast shows in 3D.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
According to Samsung at CES last January, more 3D TVs were sold in their first year than HDTVs in their first year. Granted, the number is still very small, but I don't count 3D out just yet.
insman1132's picture

As I mentioned above, just watch 3D sales jump when more Cable Network content is available. Everything new in TV seems to get off to a slow start. Heck, I can even remember back in 1949 when B & W TV was being intro'd! Talk about a slow start! It wasn't until more stations came on line (i.e. more choices and content) that sales really began to pick up. Ha Ha! Want to see a major jump?? Just do next Superbowl in 3D!! Or college football! Or the World Series!

jrobbins's picture

I had an Oppo BDP-93 player, which is, of course, 3D compatible. But, my Mitsubishi WD-62628 TV was not, nor my Integra DTC-9.8 preamp/processor. For audio purposes, I upgraded the processor to the Marantz AV-7005 and it wouldn't HDMI handshake with my TV, showing only black on the screen. Mits blamed Marantz and Marantz blamed Mits. Mits offered a firmware upgrade, not on its website, but this didn't solve the HDMI handshake problem.

So, I decided that, since I now had a player and processor that was 3D compatible, I'd take advantage of the Ultimate Electronics liquidation event. I bought another Mitsubishi, the WD-73838.

But, then, I had to upgrade my HDMI cables to 1.4a compliant. And then, I had to buy the glasses which no one carried in Minneapolis-St. Paul. And I bought the wrong ones, initially, on-line.

Then, I discovered that the Mits had a firmware upgrade so as to eliminate the need for the adapter kit, which I hadn't purchased anyway. After several mistries at getting the firmware upgrade to work, I did.

Of course, then I next learned that I needed an IR emitter, which would have come with the adapter kit, but was still necessary to sync with my glasses (which weren't the DLP type). Of course, the emitter wasn't to be found anywhere in Minneapolis-St. Paul, either. No clue why the emitter wasn't just built into the TV.

Finally, I also managed to locate some 3D material to watch on Blu-ray, which wasn't easy. Seems that the TV manufacturers have locked up some of the best movies. Kind of deters the consumer from wanting to invest. But, the blu-ray setup worked great.

I then decided to check out 3D on cable. But, my cable box from Comcast wasn't 3D capable. So, then I had to wait for a new cable box to arrive. Of course, there are only two channels to watch -- a "special events" (read: mostly junk) channel and ESPN3D.

I did figure out the need to manually select side-by-side in the TV menu to get the special events channel to work and top/bottom to get the ESPN3D channel to work. No clue why "automatic" wouldn't work for an automatic selection of SBS or T/B, but the TV doesn't do it.

Still, 3D didn't work on the TV channels. After much investigation, calls to Comcast and Mitsubishi and reading on-line forums, I discovered that the cable box was outputting at 1080i, which isn't compatible with the Mits TV (funny, it was with the adapter kit, but not after the firmware upgrade). So, I changed the resolution output of the cable box to 720p.

Still no 3D TV.

Finally, I came to the realization that the Marantz pre/pro was upscaling the 720p back to 1080i. Once turning off the upscaler, the TV channels both work.

Now, I'm diligent and pretty technically oriented. I can't imagine the average consumer having the patience or ability to solve all these problems. No wonder 3D's uptake is so slow.

The Masters is cool is 3D, but there's a red glow to the green grass that is weird. Now, I have to figure out why that's happening...JCR

AVtheaterguy's picture

First off I would really like to say that if you like a high quality image, 3D takes the cake. Consistently, on every 3D BD I've seen, the image fidelity is just fantastic.

Is there cross talk, yes...

Is there a little lack of contrast, yes...

Is there Picture Depth for Days!! A BIG EXUBERANT YES!!!!

The increase of the depth of field in the 3D Blu-Rays is just fantastic, and I feel this is where the feature really kicks to the curb everything else before it. Switching a 3D Blu-Ray back and forth between 3D and 2D is like switching from Dark Side of The Moon in SACD to DSOTM in MP3. (at least to me).

Yes, I had to get used to the glasses, and at first I had slight headaches. However I don't feel this to be any different from the first time we saw HD content, and it made you dizzy because it was SO CLEAR and REAL we just weren't used to anything like that.

Once the brain becomes used to watching 3D content, go out buy the PS3, get yourself Killzone and GT5, and go to town!!! Its fantastic!!! I'm a very passioniate Gran Tourismo fan (played 1,2,3,4, and now five), and the added depth of field not only makes the game more realistic, it has improved my ability to play the game because I can judge distances at high speeds MUCH better than in the standard 2D mode. This is just a little something I thought gamers should know...3D GAMES ROCK!

Now I have also seen these Passive 3D tvs, and yes, there is a little better viewing angle, but why has no one said anything about the BIG PINK ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM ON THIS ONE!!! Um...RESOLUTION?? HELLO?? If you have even DECENT eyesight, you see scan lines. I saw the new Panasonic GT30 next to the LG with the passive system. They were both being fed AVATAR in 3D with the Panasonic BD with dual HDMI output. The LG had a viewing angle that was superior, and the glasses were nice and lightweight, and that's where my praise ENDS. The Panasonic's picture was superior in every way (now lets please throw out the fact that the Panasonic IS a better TV, and just go along with where I'm going...). Better picture detail, better color, a resolution that didn't look like I had just cut out half my picture info. While it is nice and convenient for LG's passive 3D, the quality wasn't there. And so its a Quality vs. Quantity debate on this one.

I've put in my two cents, please feel free to add.

Also I have lots of more thoughts and incite into 3D, so lets keep this thread going.

LordoftheRings's picture

Is true 3D supposed to be 1080p two times?

Why is that that the manufacturers are not coming forward with this?
Even for 2D 1080p!!!

Buy 3D glasses today and be prepare to upgrade them next year!

Yeah, 3D is real cool! Every year is more money in the bank for the manufacturers; it was specially designed for them!

Where can you buy a guaranty that your products won't become obsolete after a year or two max? ...NOWHERE! :)


AVtheaterguy's picture


What did you mean by this, in reference for the 2D part??

"Why is that that the manufacturers are not coming forward with this?
Even for 2D 1080p!!!"

In terms of guaranteeing your product not being out of date your best chances right now would either to be into a panasonic/sony active glasses system (they are not going to be updating the communication between TV and glasses for this upcoming generation, no news as far as 2012 products go).

While the picture quality isn't great, you could also go for the passive glasses system, since that format will not be "changing" their glasses.

Or you could invest in the Xpand Product or the Monster Universal 3D glasses. Those are both after market products that are functional for all the active glasses 3D TVs.

marla2517's picture

Watching a 3D movie is cool- thing come out at you. Watching 3DTV is like looking in a window, it's OK, not great. What I don't understand at all is why didn't the TV manufacturers standardize the glasses??
Sony's glasses wont work with Panasonic wont work with Samsung. The glasses snafu is the main holdup for me.