What’s everybody’s take on 3D
TV — niche product or CE’s salvation?
David Pidgeon, Starpower:
a niche product. Everybody wants it until
you have to start buying glasses. It’s something
that sounds good and is exciting,
and people love to come in and look at all
the demonstrations in the store. But there
is a lot of confusion out there about what
it is. Some people think you can just watch
the TV, that you push a button and something
happens. So then you start talking
about having to wear glasses.
What if everyone is watching a football
game and you decide you want to watch
it in 3D. Is everybody going to put on the
And how many pairs do you buy? Two,
four, six, eight? What if you break one? All
of the sudden, no matter what the price of
the glasses are — even if you get them to
$100 a piece, which they’re not right now
— they see that extra $1,000 or $2,000
and they’re like “What? I don’t need that.
Are you kidding me? I’ll go to the movie
theater.” They’re expecting it to be free
with the TV, or maybe a small addition.
Until we get it
to where there
is some way to
push a button
on the TV to
change it to 3D, it’s
defi nitely going to be a
niche product for a long time.
Jeanette Howe, Specialty Electronics
I found “Avatar” to be an
amazingly immersive and wonderful experience.
Most 3D movies I have seen make
you feel like you’re being assaulted by all of
these things coming at you, but I walked
out of “Avatar” thinking this is the way
movies should be. As an industry we need
to encourage the consuming public to go see
and have that experience. As this technology
grows and someone like a Peter Jackson
works in 3D, we’re going to have some pretty
amazing experiences to promote.
Dave Workman, PRO Group:
more important is the aspect of 3D in
combination with LED and IPTV. The
job we have as an industry is to position
next-generation, high-definition television
to the consumer. 3D is going to take
some time, so it’s more important that we
talk to the consumer about how to futureproof
their purchase. If you take all of
those aspects in combination along with
maybe more value and larger screen sizes,
that has more relevance for this year.
The gaming side should adopt faster, and
it will probably be a home-run hit with Play-
Station. It will take longer for the entertainment
side just because of the limited number
of releases. We need more “Avatars,” but remember
how many years we sold high-defi –
nition TV before we had anything to show.
It was all conceptual. We have to in some
respects be enthusiastic about this, but position
it with the other technologies that are
leading edge, and make that the investment
the consumer should make, rather than just
focusing on one technology.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:
think the consumer wants to have something
razzle-dazzle. I saw “Avatar” and like
Jeannette, I was also blown away. You want
to dedicate a vignette or showroom to that
technology, and to explain the advantage of
240-refresh and the other tools you’re going
to need in these better-quality sets to
take advantage of the technology. We’re
going to see it even in the computing companies
that are offering notebook solutions
with 3D. You have to embrace it quickly
and get everybody pumped up. The demo
trucks going around the country and the
3D Olympic footage are great sales tools.
Karen Austin, Sears Holdings:
events will be a real test of how much
3D takes off. Imagine Super Bowl 2011,
and what will have happened by then. As
we talk about depleting margins, here is a
great opportunity to sell glasses.
At Cowboy Stadium they
tried to put everything in 3D, but there was
a horrible miss there, and the fans were literally
booing. The biggest cheer was when
they switched back from 3D. The whole
stadium, 80,000 people, went nuts because
it was just a blur on this giant screen.
People want something new and will be
attracted to it, but as we saw with HDTV,
when we tried to sell it at retail before there
was HD content, what were the sales? But
the day you started getting content it went
crazy, and everybody wanted it.
We are at that point where we’ve got
to find some bundle that allows it to be
a $999 package, which includes all your
glasses and all your stuff, and it’s so easy
you just push a button and everybody has
fun with it. There also has to be a lot of
movies on the shelf, or at least on the
way. We’re still a little ways away
thing I like about 3D is
that the experience is so
much better the larger you
get the screen, and anything
that promotes bigger screens
rather than smaller screens is
great. I’m also hoping that 3D resurrects
the two-piece projector business,
which is also important to the custom
I think it is incumbent upon
us to figure out ways to make
it work rather than thinking
about maybe why it won’t.
That is what we have to do.
Our position in the marketplace
is to take the leadingedge
technologies and bring
the excitement to the consumer.
This is an opportunity to position leading-
edge with some other technologies,
and hopefully we can future proof the purchase
of the set for the consumer.
Obviously if everybody comes in asking
for 3D, then we can go back to the first
part of the conversation and we’ll be talking
about why there isn’t any margin in it.
Jim Ristow, Home Entertainment
For us, one of the advantages is
having to do the demo, and having to talk
about something and explain something.
Early adopters and new technology are
things that historically have been kind of
in our wheelhouse, and that is why we are
really excited about it. The vendor community
is as well, along with all the opportunities