The recently concluded CES (Computer Electronics Show) 2011 is now a strong signpost for the future of 3D HDTV, which despite its launch back at CES 2010 and subsequent announcements by Samsung, Panasonic, has made very few gains into the mainstream American market. Booth babes and celebrity guest appearances by such luminaries as Lady Gaga aside, here is the buzz word people: Universal Glasses or even better “Glasses-Free” 3D HDTV’s. So with these recent changes, is 3D HDTV the Next Big Thing?…or the next Big Niche?
Toshiba’s announcement in August of 2010, Nintendo and the 3D glasses free DS handheld  slated for a February 2011 release as far back as September 2010 were signs. Even venerable innovation titan Apple pushing out their Apple-Cart (get it?!) and joining the 3D bandwagon by introducing their patented take on 3D glasses-less displays in early December 2010. ALL three, not just Apple alone this time, were ahead of the curve post 3D TV CES 2010. Put that in your oven and bake it, Las Vegas!
Many would seek to castigate the usual suspects, that being the recession battered economy, but fail to grasp the subtleties of marketing dynamics. People, even in better times, would not have logically seen 3D as so great a “wow” factor that they would like to watch Television in 3D all the time. Factors abound in making 3D HDTV mainstream. First is the introductory price is a tad to high for us mere mortals to even afford. Until the “premium” add on price for new technology is removed, then those 3D HDTV announced last year would have been, as we Jamaican say in our colourful patios, “sel’ off”, a long time ago.
Then there is the content, of which a plethora exists, both in video game releases, inclusive of video game platforms that support 3D as well as movies, which, despite the ramblings of Hollywood, can all be made into 3D. Reason again is this “premium” add on price that these content makers wish to add on to 3D content.
Which is more reason why streaming over IPTV devices such as the Roku and the Apple iTV are so popular. These devices are highly rated Roku (now with Hulu since September 2010) and the spanking NKYOB (New Kid on the Block) contender, the Apple iTV are becoming more popular as Americans increasingly “cut the cord” on their Cable Services but keep their High-Speed Broadband Service.
All the US$99 Apple iTV needs, already packing Netflix and Hulu and 99-cent two day show rentals, is Facetime and possibly an integration of PrimeSense’s 3D Motion Capture technology, currently license to Microsoft Xbox 360 as Kinect and US$49.99 Roku box would have some real competition. Makes the much opined Apple Television Set look all that more possible by 2012!
But the issue of greatest concern was the goggles…er…I mean the glasses one had to endure wearing in order to watch 3D HDTV. Not to mention the fact that ironically, such devices cannot be watched by children under the age of six (6) due to possible vision impairment problems, pregnant women and epileptics. Still, these technical foibles associated with this nascent technology based on active-shutter 3D glasses are showing signs of being overcome, as Universal 3D Glasses and 3D glasses-less display are making a strong showing at CES 2011.
This possibly might explain the confidence of the 3D HDTV set makers in forging ahead, with analyst Futuresource Consulting predicting a near doubling of 3D HDTV sales to three million (3,000,000) in the EU and five million (5,000,000) in the US of A. Despite the Economy, they know that Americans, like their forefathers before them, still sought to enjoy their leisure time away from Big Brother in the comfort and privacy of their own homes with personal entertainment.
Added to the fact that the hype machine surrounding technologies such as Tablets, 3D HDTV and Telecom Provider 3G and 4G plans seems to be set in overdrive for the long haul and attractions such as video calling integration with Skype. However, as sports is one of them main draw to getting this macho ego-booster, which is what 3D HDTV’s represent, my suspicion for the optimism, plain and simple is the coming Olympics 2012 in London. More reason than any to get a 3D HDTV, as after then I would declare the analyst spot on and 3D HDTV as the Next Big Thing.
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