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3D TV Looking A Little Green

8/25/2010 02:35:00 PM

Here’s some news to make 3D TV vendors puke: A Strategy Analytics consumer survey surfaced Tuesday saying 17 percent of Americans believe 3D TVs could post health risks to the eyes while another 55 percent “aren’t sure.”

That’s 72 percent of Americans who are feeling a little queasy about plunking down big bucks for the new 3D TVs the industry is clamoring to sell in this increasingly dismal economy.

Worse, there still isn’t any scientific research available to either justify or discredit the notion. That means a large portion of shoppers are going to continue to sit on the fence (if they can keep their balance) or reject a 3D TV purchase altogether this year.

And watch out for when that inevitable scientific report does surface verifying any aspect of these concerns. Someone’s going to do it, valid or not. You know it. There’s too much money and notoriety at stake.

Sounds like the legal disclaimer posted by Samsung’s Australian office a few months ago may have been more than just a paranoid precaution.

Strategy Analytics said its new study resulted from a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers and “underlines a critical task ahead for both vendors and service providers,” according to the firm.

“We’ve long believed that 3D TV faced a tough road with numerous obstacles, namely content availability, consumer interest and viable business models” said Ben Piper, Strategy Analytics’ multiplay market dynamics service director. “However, these issues all take a back seat in light of the latest findings.”

He said the No. 1 priority for 3D TV vendors and service providers should be messaging, although there remains little in the way of published scientific evidence linking 3D TV and eye problems to communicate. Still, the industry is apparently awash in anecdotal reports of “eye strain, dizziness, headaches and nausea.”

“Whether or not the safety concerns are justified is immaterial,” said David Mercer, Strategic Analytics digital consumer practice VP. “The perception issue is one that could substantially hamper 3D TV’s growth going forward.”

Strategy Analytics said it will formally unveil further details of its findings on Sept. 11, 2010 (got to like the irony in that date), during the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam.

Bring your own air-sickness bag.

Meanwhile, you’ve also got to find the irony in the report that surfaced on the same day out of Japan saying that Toshiba is developing technology for a 3D television that won’t require special glasses. It is the glasses that have been linked to most of the motion discomfort associated with the technology.

The technology reportedly involves transmitting different images at various angles to create an illusion of dimension and depth.

Could Toshiba be ready for another format war?

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