What’s everybody’s take on 3D TV — niche product or CE’s salvation?
David Pidgeon, Starpower:
Definitely 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 glasses?
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 Nationwide:
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:
Even 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:
I 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:
Sporting 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 from that.
The other 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 retailer.
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 Source:
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 in IPTV.