Business Week

Anyone who visited Japan’s electronics show, CEATEC, this week would not have missed the next big thing for the country’s largest technology makers: 3D TVs. Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba all demonstrated that they can build high-definition 3D sets. But even as the industry bets on these newfangled TVs, some bigwigs were offering a reality check.

On Oct. 6, Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo called the industry’s hopes of getting consumers to buy 3D TVs “ambitious.” It could be years before mainstream consumers are lured by lower prices and a broader selection of movies and TV programs, he noted.

That’s a sentiment tech analysts share. Many think that consumers may not like having to wear special glasses for 3D at home. Price could be another hurdle. None of the major Japanese electronics companies has said how much consumers will have to pay—and they will have to pay more than the usual high-definition TV—for a 3D set.

But here’s where exposure could play a key role. Hollywood studios have announced more than 30 movies that will be shown in 3D in 2010. Tech manufacturers are betting that as movies draw bigger crowds, an increasing number of consumers will get over their resistance to glasses. And if the Blu-ray Disc Assn. approves standards for 3D movies later this year, as is expected, Hollywood could begin releasing movies in 3D within months, industry executives say.

  1. The0ne says:

    3D movies in theater is significantly a different experience than watching it at home, even on a 73″ like what I have.

    I have to agree, it’s going to take some long years before the various industries embrace the technology and for the technology, TV’s specifically, to come down in price. I give it 10 years generously.

  2. Jim says:

    What are they talking about?

    They haven’t even dealt with adding valuable content for BLURAY/HDDVD, and now they want to push 3D?

    Someone really doesn’t understand — they need to converge TV and Internet. Put out shows that have direct internet feeds and links; sports with dynamic, clickable links for what’s happening ON THE SCREEN (not some after market garbage website.)

    Without dynamic interactive content DRIVEN from tv with new content and media, they are not going to get anywhere with consumers.

    TV/movie folks are in the ‘broadcast’ frame of mind and can’t think ahead, just as the stupid recording industry did.

  3. Father says:

    TV is like a window into another place. When I look out the window, things don’t jump into my room from outside.

    I would like is to stop looking through the window, and instead be surrounded by the image. Feel immersed in the world. So, for example, in the movie Animal House, feel like I’m sitting amoung the actors in Delta House.

    I can’t believe the Japanese aren’t thinking this way. Morons.

  4. hhopper says:

    Yeah, but when you look out the window, you’re seeing in 3D.

  5. Father says:

    I meant to say, “When I look out the window, from across the room, things don’t jump into the room.”

    If they were working on holographic TV, then I might be interested if they had nonzero chances for success.

    3D TV is yet another reason to stop watching TV.

  6. Larry Bud says:

    Make 3D porn, and this will sell like hotcakes.

  7. Angel H. Wong says:

    I predict this is going to be HUGE in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and by the time it starts to become ho-hum boring and ubiquitous up there (5 – 10 years) then the United States as usual will start to catch up mixed results.

  8. yanikinwaoz says:

    Isn’t this one of the reasons the Sony bought Columbia Pictures back in 1989? This way Sony Studios could make films that play on Sony hardware?

    I’m still waiting for smell-o-vision.

  9. Father says:


    Leo LaPort had audience ‘participation’ in one of his TWiT podcasts, and it was a mess. If I wanted that banal entertainment, I’d walk to a neighborhood bar. Maybe I’m in the minority.

  10. Postman says:

    So this will be another failure like bluray and 1080p HDTV were. Basically only early adopters will buy it then it will sit there for years and languish like bluray is now with minimal interest.

    Meanwhile consumers will continue to flock to the Internet to get grainy video when they want it.

  11. sargasso says:

    “On Oct. 6, Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo called the industry’s hopes of getting consumers to buy 3D TVs “ambitious”” – the Japanese are excruciatingly polite people.

  12. Rick Cain says:

    I’m not really sure I want 3D porn, especially if somebody pops in a gay video as a joke.

  13. soundwash says:

    TV rots your brain.

    3D TV will rot your brain three dimensionally…

    I bet the brain washing will be *very* thorough..

    -though I suspect once the grid is
    fried, it wont matter much.


  14. The0ne says:

    Slightly off topic but who here has been and seen Michael Jackson’s 3D show at Disney? Awesome stuff 🙂 I think running on Amiga PCs to boot 😀

  15. Jim says:

    @Father — no, I’m not talking about twitternet.

    I’m talking being able to access linked items, through your tv, on the fly through adaptive programs and on screen internet access.

    If you want to twitter too, I suppose that could be part of it, but my focus is more on information convergence, not blabber convergence. We already have that here.

  16. Glenn E. says:

    Damn it! We just got digital HD Tv rolled out in the US. And now, that’s not good enough, we have to start thinking about 3D! WHY?! 3D on the small screen, is only going to make the viewers motion sick. Because the producers and directors will overuse the technology. In order to justify its huge cost to the studios. That means high speed camera moves, in 3D, that’ll make ya puke. Who needs to see a Michael Bay movie in 3D? They’re bad enough in 2D.

    As if the brain doesn’t have enough crap to process. We’re going to have a 3D experience forced upon everyone. It’ll be just another gimmick feature to spur new Tv sales, after everyone already has an HDTV. So what’s next after 3DTV, Smellavision? Ow, got have it cause the Japanese do. Just say NO to 3DTV, and your stomach will thank you for it.

  17. Son says:

    Father, come round to my place if you want Animal House

  18. Buzz says:

    The 3D silly season follows the 11-year sun spot cycle. We are in it right now, so that’s why so much interest in 3D. Every time it reappears, woo—THIS time is when it finally grabs everybody’s attention!


  19. bobbo, libertarianism fails when it becomes dogma says:

    My 120frames per second Panasonic is labeled 3D ready. All it needs now is a source program alternating left/right pics at 60 per second each and a set of glasses. Certain IMAX images come right out of the screen and into the audience. I remember one at the beach and the wave broke and most of the audience reacted by pulling up their feet. I don’t know what characteristics of the media need to be to get that effect, but its all possible now on standard tvs.

    The holodeck draws near.

  20. BigBoyBC says:

    Am I missing something? What’s with all these 3D movies all of a sudden in the theaters?


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