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Panelists Pleased With Early 3D Demand, Suggest Ways To Spur Sales


What’s your early read on 3D
TV? Are consumers trying and buying?
Will it become a full-fledged category or
simply a snazzy feature on step-up models?

Karen Austin, Sears Holdings:

have been very pleased with our early
read on 3D TVs. 3D TVs offer customers
the best overall picture quality
on the market and the added value feature
of 3D and IPTV.

Jeannette Howe, Specialty Electronics

I am genuinely excited
about 3D, but that said, there are a
number of issues that alarm me.

I am dismayed that the video manufacturing
community elected to launch
this new technology through all channels
simultaneously — Internet, mass
merchants and specialty dealers. 3D requires
more education for the consumer
than any other technology launch in my
memory, and there is no standardization.
We only have one opportunity to
delight the consumer and expose them
to the “new” 3D. If consumers buy 3D
products through the Internet or on an
unassisted sales floor, they are destined
to have a bad experience. Consumers
navigating the HDMI handshake,
3D glasses compatibility, the ability of
last year’s AVR to pass a 3D signal, 3D
Blu-ray players, and installation to their
source material will require a knowledgeable
and consultative sales force.

It also seems we are creating our own
objections to the technology. For example,
people groan, “You have to wear
glasses.” Most people wear glasses daily
— I can’t go a day without my sunglasses
and I spent a lot of money on
them. Some will see the opportunity
— I hope Noel Lee brings Lady Gaga
3D glasses to market.

Here’s another objection: “You can’t
watch 3D while lying down.” When
was the last time you watched the Super
Bowl or the World Series lying
down? 3D is event-driven — if you
want to sleep through the programming,
you shouldn’t watch it in 3D.

As an industry we need to be promoting
the sizzle of 3D. We are encouraging
our SEN and Nationwide
dealers to participate in CEA’s National
3D Demo Days Sept. 10-12.

3D video is also a great opportunity to
reintroduce the consumer to 3D audio.
Here we are presenting an immersive
video experience, and that experience demands
an equally immersive audio experience
as well. We advocate that dealers
set up their 3D video systems with really
compelling audio systems.

3D technology is here to stay. We all
know the content providers are driving
it and we will be selling 3D display devices
well into the future. The key to
selling this technology is qualifying the

The 44-year-old and younger demographic
does not know life without a video
game. I recently read that Generation
Y is expected to surpass Baby Boomers
in retail spending by 2015. Gen-Y
consists of 113 million consumers who
will spend an estimated $629 billion
this year. They no longer live at home
and they are fending for themselves financially. This is the demographic most
likely to embrace 3D.

For what it is worth, the
specialty channel has made
a living by selling to Boomers.
In order to survive,
the independent dealer
has to be marketing and
selling to Generation Y as
well. When it comes to the
Boomer Generation, 3D should
probably be presented as a “future
proof ” feature on an excellent, highquality
display device.

David Pidgeon, Starpower:

We are
enjoying the increase in store traffic and
interest in 3D. However, I don’t think
we are at a point where we can start
singing victory songs for this product
category. It’s interesting, intriguing
and consumers like it, but we are really
looking forward to larger sets and theater
applications, as we find that to be
the most accepting of markets for this
technology. Time will tell.

Jim Ristow, Home Entertainment

Our 3D attachment rate continues
to outpace the industry.

Many of our members are not just
showing 3D but the differences in 3D
technology. Some of their clients/customers
are buying purely for the 3D
feature, while others want a better display
and want to ensure that they are
“future-proof ” for 3D.

Regardless, we see this as an excellent
opportunity to get customers/clients
into our members’ stores.

Ross Rubin, The NPD Group:

It’s a
slow start, but that’s what was expected.
The silver lining is that it is driving
store traffic for now.

The industry recognizes many of the
things that need to happen to drive
adoption: reducing the price delta with
2D-only models, increasing the available
content, and addressing the cost
and compatibility of the glasses.

Consumers are excited about the potential
when they get a proper demo,
but I’ve already seen cases where retailers
are leaving glasses out that aren’t
turned on. And if the glasses are turned
off , so are the consumers.

Dan Schwab, D&H Distributing:

of 3D TVs will mature further as more
content becomes available for
the average homeowner.

We really look at 3D
TV in the same context
as we do IPTV. In some
respects, allowing the
“connected generation” to
view YouTube, download
virtually unlimited movies
and TV shows, and check out
their Facebook pages on their TVs
will help drive the upgrade/refresh cycle.
We’re predicting 3D and IPTV
could trigger a watershed of consumers
upgrading their TVs, similar to
what happened when flat panels first
appeared. In that scenario, the new 3D
units themselves can be the catalyst to
sell add-ons like 7.1 surround-sound
audio, 3D Blu-ray players, devices that
allow users to see content from their
PCs on the TV, and so on. We’re excited
to be able to focus with our vendors
and customers on innovation and differentiation.

Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:

TV is a desired feature that consumers
are buying now. This is a positive addition
to our home-theater lineup. The
early adopters have already taken to 3D
TV, with those who want to shop for
new technologies right behind them.
For retailers, it comes down to having
the most innovative products with the required
components available at the right
time for the right price. Those retailers
that can provide that level of service to
their customers will win the business.

Michael Vitelli, Best Buy:

3D TVs
do much more than just provide a great
new experience for customers — they
provide the best-quality 2D high-definition picture as well.

We don’t see 3D as a fad. As we see
customers experience 3D TV in our
stores, we see them walk away with
feelings of surprise and delight. I think
we are changing their historical perceptions
of what 3D is.

That said, we’re still very early in
the cycle. Events like the World Cup
broadcast in 3D and the recent launch
of ESPN3D are helping to drive consumer
interest around the world. And
gaming in 3D is amazing. As more content
becomes available, there will be
even more interest in the category.

Best Buy now carries most of the major
brands of 3D televisions. From the
beginning of the year to now, we have
seen an increase in the number of manufacturers
and models with 3D.

Dave Workman, PRO Group:

3D is
not producing the incremental gains
we would have hoped for at this point.
The financing situation may be holding
back some purchases but there is
another possible scenario that I would
like to propose: The industry is packaging
quite a bit of product into the bundle
promotions. Would we sell more
of the expensive sets if they increased
the instant rebate, and let the customers
purchase the extra stuff to create the
3D experience when they were ready, or
when more software became available?

We are tying up promotional dollars
in product giveaways to make 3D
work. Instead of a $300 IR [instant rebate] with a bundle, would the customer
react in greater quantities to a $600
IR without the product giveaway?

First and foremost people are buying
the TV for what it does in 2D. 3D
is a nice future-proof technology but
I believe many customers are waiting
for this technology on its own to come
down in price.

This gets back to what we need to do
to sell LED and picture quality, ultraslim
profi les, IPTV, and the other features
that are relevant right now.