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TWICE, NewBay Holds Multi-Industry 3D TV Event

6/07/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK - The lack of an industry
standard for glasses, and a dearth of
content and consumer knowledge, are
the biggest obstacles to 3D TV adoption,
according to two of the format’s
earliest marketplace proponents.

Mike Vitelli, Americas president of
Best Buy, and Bob Perry, senior VP
at Panasonic, made the observations
at the 3DTV2010 Event, at the Roosevelt
Hotel, here, that was produced by
TWICE and fellow publications from
parent company NewBay Media —
Broadcasting & Cable, Digital Video,
Multichannel News, TV Technology
and Videography.

In a one-on-one session with TWICE
editor in chief Steve Smith, Vitelli said
Best Buy, just weeks into its launch, is
pleased with initial 3D TV sales and is
encouraged by enthusiastic consumer
response.

But as the format reaches a wider audience,
he foresees compatibility issues
arising as consumers attempt to use their
3D glasses with other people’s TVs.

“The issue isn’t having to wear the
glasses — it’s the glasses not working at
your friend’s home,” he said. “And we’ll
get the first call.”

A related, albeit short-term, challenge
for retailers is shrinkage, which
he compared to theft of remote controls
and headphones from early live
displays.

More pressing is the need for simplified functionality and enhanced education,
which would help dispel consumer
misconceptions about 3D technology,
such as the sets’ inability to display 2D
content.

The challenge is formidable, Vitelli
said, as many consumers are still viewing
standard-definition content on their
HDTVs, believing it is higher resolution
fare.

“We have to make sure that all consumers
understand that 3D is a top-ofthe-
line feature on 2D sets, and that 3D
TVs are the best HDTVs you can buy,”
he told a standing-room-only crowd of
more than 300 executives from the CE,
broadcasting, cable, satellite and content
industries.

Vitelli said adoption rates will also
depend on how quickly content becomes
available, and the quality of
what’s offered. Key drivers will be
“blockbuster events” that draw mass
audiences; specialized “mini events”
with narrower reach, such as 3D concerts
streamed online; and immersive
gaming experiences that generate demand
for more screens in various sizes
in more places.

In opening remarks, Perry, whose
company partnered with Best Buy for
the first major rollout of 3D TV earlier
this season, implored broadcasters and
content providers to “please do it right,”
or risk slowing the adoption rate.

“It’s too important to get it wrong
with bad 3D execution or bad content,”
he said. “We have to thrill the consumer,
and can get twice the adoption rate
of HDTV if we do it right.”

Perry added that the 3D transition is
completely different from and will happen
much faster than the HD changeover,
due to the broad support of the
CE industry and the nature of the 3D
experience itself. “When consumers see
the 3D demos at retail, it will rock their
world,” he said.