9 months ago big brand TV vendors including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and LG were claiming that 3D TVs were set to be big in Australia by Xmas 2010 driven in part by new big budget 3D movies and new 3D TVs.The reality is that 3D is a big flop, with vendors now set to use the 2011 CES show in Las Vegas to try and inject life into the flagging technology. The TV vendors are also set to do battle in the IPTV market with several brands set to launch TVs with new IPTV applications and services.
Big investments in 3D promotions earlier this year by the likes of Samsung and Harvey Norman is already hurting bottom line profits.
Already vendors are lining up new models incorporating new technology.
LG Electronics will show a new line of LED 3DTVs at CES in January with NANO lighting technology that delivers a clear, sharp, bright, smooth picture claims the company by using a rendered light-emitting diode array through a “thin film printed with a proprietary light-dispersion pattern,”. LG says. The displays also sport an anti-reflective panel that further enhances picture quality.
(See separate LG 3D TV story).
All of the major consumer electronics retailers in Australia are reporting “flat” sales of 3D TVs due they say to a “dislike” of having to wear 3D glasses and a “lack” of content. Earlier this week Best Buy, the biggest electronics retailer in the US, reported that slow sales of 3D TVs had contributed to disappointing quarterly results.
“We do not agree … that 3D TV and IPTV are the next great things,” said analysts at Wedbush Morgan Securities, citing a lack of 3D content for TVs.
“We remain pessimistic that 3D TV will be widely adopted by any but the most hard core gamers.”
In Australia Samsung executives who were among the first to launch 3D TVs onto the market said the market had defiantly “softened” and that some of the obstacles facing 3D adoption included consumers opting for other consumer electronics items, such as tablets and smartphones, which are now one of the fastest growing divisions in Samsung Australia.
Several Harvey Norman franchisees claim that consumers have been put off by the price and the inconvenience of glasses. One major franchisee said “The TV Networks, in particular the NRL delivered shocking coverage of the State Of Origin” and that this did not help.
Many analysts are tipping that 3D will be driven by gamers especially products like the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld game console that will not require special glasses to play 3D titles and movies on its 3.5-inch screen. It’s also tipped that Nintendo will launch a 7″ 3D screen manufactured by Sharp.
The smaller screen size and a single viewer sitting a short distance from it at a relatively fixed angle makes it easier for the format to be served without eyewear.
This means some laptops, tablets and mobile phones will be equipped with 3D-capable screens next year that will not need glasses.
It’s also tipped that Apple is set to enter the 3D market after it was granted a patent this month on a 3D projection system that accommodates multiple viewers without glasses.
The Financial Times in London said that Sony and Samsung hope their TVs will encourage sales of other devices – Sony’s PlayStation 3 console, Blu-ray 3D players and 3D camcorders and digital cameras, where consumers will want to hook up and display their 3D-recorded content on a bigger screen.
More content should also help TV sales in 2011, with some major broadcasters adding 3D channels and Hollywood planning to release more than 50 movies in the format next year.
Aside from a wide choice of TVs from Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and a number of other TV makers, 3D is also featuring in other devices.
Sharp is launching an Android smartphone with a 3D-capable display in Japan this month. Nvidia, the graphics chipmaker, has enabled 3D viewing and gaming on PC monitors and laptops with its chipsets and special glasses.