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3D Experts: We Need Help from Retail

20 Sep, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — According to data from Quixel Research, 3DTVs will be 50% of the TV market by 2015, and by 2013 there will more than 12.5 million 3DTVs in American homes, up from approximately 4 million in 2011.

But consumer adoption of 3D at home could go so much faster if other segments of the business were to step up more, according to speakers at the 3D Entertainment Summit Sept. 20.

“Connected [TVs] along with 3D are concepts that need consumer education,” said Frank DeMartin, VP of consumer product sales at Mitsubishi. “They’re really not coming into retail and asking about connected or 3D. So retailers aren’t telling them.”

Instead, TV retailers are selling consumers on larger screen sizes and HDTV values.

“Consumers want to go and look and see and touch,” DeMartin said. “We would certainly ask the content community to help sell 3D on the [retail] floor.”

Movies are important, panelists agreed, but the broadcast and gaming communities need to step up as well to show consumers why they need a 3DTV in the home.

“People need to see what they’re getting,” said Tim Alessi, director of new product development for LG Electronics. “Remember, in the early days of HD there was nothing to see as well. The market is developing quite nicely. But expectations were set a year and a half ago that were not met. [However] the adoption of 3D at home is ahead of where [digital TV] was in 1999.”

Back-to-back years of touting 3DTV at the Consumer Electronics Show has helped push the market, according to Chris Yewdall, president and CEO of 3D technology company DDD Group. But the 2012 CES should see more news along the lines of 3D mobile and 3D content delivery, he predicted.

“I think 3DTV, from a manufacturer perspective, is inevitable,” DeMartin said. “The eggs have hatched. There are plenty of devices out there, no doubt about that. But we as an industry need to educate consumers about the benefits. We certainly have a lot of work to do.”

The past success of 3D in theaters gives the industry hope for 3D at the home, panelists said, but it’s not a given.

“We’ve seen tremendous success overall for cinema, so why would anyone question the success of 3D at home?” said Rick Dean, chairman of the 3D@Home Consortium and SVP at THX. “There seems to be some questions about the rollout and consumer acceptance.”

“If you’re going to be a doctor, an engineer, working in an office, 3D is going to be a part of your viewing experience,” Dean said.

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