3D is currently all the rage but will it sell? The recent CES Expo in Las Vegas revealed a plethora of new 3D TV technology on the horizon from Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and many others. The question now is will consumers buy it? Since the worldwide conversion of analog to digital TV in the last decade many people now own newer Plasma, LCD, or LED TVs. This seems to leave 3D TV out in the cold. There really isn't a reason to go out and buy a new TV if you recently purchased one a few years ago since most televisions have an average lifespan of 60,000 hours, or about 27 years.
However, that isn't stopping Hollywood from producing 3D movies. In fact, all the major studios have agreed that all animated movies from now on will be in 3D. It's also rumored that video games will soon follow. Will dramas, comedies, and action movies also go the way of 3D? It's hard to imagine Meryl Streep spilling some wine on the audience, or Reese Witherspoon throwing a shoe at my face when I'm sitting in the theater, but action movies might work. I also shudder to think about what might be poking out of the movie screen above my head at a raunchy teen comedy. Imagine the possibilities. Ugh. Except for a few experimental forays into the action and comedy genres I don't see 3D taking over. This leaves children's animated features and video games as the only reason to buy a new 3D TV and that isn't good.
Will you go out and buy a 3D TV to watch movies with your kids in the living room? I think not. TV watching habits, at least here in the U.S., have changed since over the years. These days, most households own more than one television set, usually one in the living room and a few in different bedrooms throughout the house. Most likely, if you do purchase a 3D TV is will be a small one for the kid's bedroom, especially if you have recently purchased a main TV for the living room. This means 3D TVs that do sell will be in the smaller sub 32" range.
Now take into account the slow uptake of blu-ray technology. Consumers already feel like they are being forced into upgrading against their will. How will that affect the uptake of 3D technology, which still only seems to exist as a gimmick? Blu-ray seems like a natural upgrade, just as it was natural to replace music albums with CDs, because the technology is so much better, but no one really needs 3D. 3D is just something fun to get us to spend our money, and as we all know, we are in the middle of a recession. It's not a good time to spend on frivolous things.
On top of all that, there seems to be an unstoppable burst of new television technology on the way. Flexible OLED displays and transparent AMOLED screens come to mind. Why not wait a few years for them to be released before upgrading? If 3D technology is still around in 5 years I'm sure it will be incorporated into the new flexible, portable, transparent, television sets we will have by then. At that time, 3D technology will have come down in price as well.
It seems to me that with all these things going against it 3D TV isn't really a must have. It's more like something that will become an additional feature and be listed on the back of the TV box along with DTS and Dolby Surround Sound. A feature that is nice to have but not necessary. Only time will tell but my money is not on 3D TV.