If recent buying patterns are any indication, consumers may make a mad dash to replace their current TVs with 3D-capable ones as the new technology matures.
Along the way there will be ample opportunities for dealers and installers to generate sales from the 3D “refresh,” or wave of buyers ready to upgrade to the latest platform. The suite of products that will be required to even begin to enjoy the 3D experience, such as starter kits with glasses and 3D-specific BD players, will kick off this cycle, followed by expected add-on opportunities in home theater and the larger home entertainment network.
This kind of phenomenon has been seen before in several high-tech markets. A prime example was the launch of Microsoft Windows 7 in late 2009.
Similarly, consumers have shown a reliable tendency to turn over their TVs and adopt the latest and greatest display technologies as they hit the market. Six years ago flat panel invigorated TV sales, quickly eclipsing rearprojection models and turning CRTs into proverbial dinosaurs. Nearly three years later LED technology appeared, sending sales soaring again.
As stated, the 3D TV refresh will begin with the basic components that consumers must purchase in order to use their 3D capabilities. Each manufacturer will sell accessory sets consisting of 3D glasses with integrated batteries that are proprietary to each manufacturer’s TV, and consumers will also have to invest in a 3D-compatible Blu-ray Disc player in order to enjoy the extra dimensionality.
But just as the iPod spawned an industry of third-party peripherals, there will likely be a host of 3D add-ons that can provide easy supplemental sales at healthy margins — particularly among high-end, first-adopter consumers.
In audio, industry buzz points to enhancements to augment the new 3D format. This could include digital sound projectors, some of which boast HD audio decoding and 1080p-compatible HDMI, or advanced A/V virtual theater systems. New 7.1 audio setups, which outpace previous 5.1-channel home-theater systems, are also being introduced.
Consumers may also be amenable to other top-of-the-line functionalities that leverage their new investments, such as the ability to stream Internet-based content to their TVs, or to access their computer desktops via the big screen.
The marketplace always responds to fresh demands with innovation, so 3D may drive ongoing new devices and capabilities. Future enhancements could include 3D gaming consoles, while development is already underway on 3D TVs that don’t require glasses.
Whenever an exciting technology develops, it not only creates a profitable new category in itself, it has the power to create a new ecosystem of manufacturers and products to support it. Leverage your partners to help you identify and sell those products as they emerge. If you’re ready for it, this new dimension may be able to add depth to your bottom line.
Jeff Davis is sales senior VP at D&H Distributing, a leading national technology distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa. For more information call (800) 340- 1007 or visit www.dandh.com.