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Vitelli, Perry: Standards, Education, Content Critical To 3D Adoption

5/25/2010 01:46:40 PM 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.

 Bob Perry of Panasonic
 Best Buy's Mike Vitelli (left) with TWICE publisher Marcia Grand and Sony’s Mike Fasulo at 3DTV2010

Mike Vitelli,
Americas president of Best Buy, and Bob Perry, senior VP at Panasonic, made the
observations at a 3DTV2010 Event, at the Roosevelt Hotel, here this morning
that was presented 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-of-the-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.

Vitelli would have
liked having more product at Best Buy's launch, but acknowledged that tight
supplies are typical of new-technology introductions.

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.