3-D: Coming Soon To A Screen Near You

Even in the most promising economic times, it’s difficult to accurately predict existing or potential consumer interest in emerging technologies. Certainly in the months-and years-ahead it will be crucial for manufacturers to assess consumers’ willingness to adapt to cutting-edge products.

The CE industry can take some comfort in knowing that recent history supports the notion that early adopters pave the way for mainstream endorsement if the technology is compelling. Old paradigms are rapidly eschewed when new, improved items are introduced: think flat-panel displays and MP3 players, and the entire product lines they displaced.

One intriguing technology that is steadily gaining an audience is 3-D TV. CEA’s new study, 3-D TV: Where Are We Now and Where Are Consumers? provides an understanding of consumer interest in and attitudes towards 3-D, particularly as it relates to bringing stereoscopic 3-D into the living room. Some key findings include:

– 40 percent of consumers in the top 20 media markets report they are aware of 3-D content.

– About one-third of consumers familiar with 3-D video have seen a 3-D movie in the theater.

– More than 26 million households are interested in a 3-D content experience in their home.

– The more experience people have with 3-D; the more interested they are in consuming it.

At this year’s International CES, award-winning director James Cameron said, “3-D is not a gimmick…3-D is ready for prime time.” While it’s true that overall awareness of the current state of 3-D is relatively low, interest is steadily growing. Naturally, the increased popularity of 3-D movies will continue to generate enthusiasm. As is invariably the case with consumer electronics, the more people are exposed to an emergent technology, the more inclined they will be to experience and purchase it.

Toward the end of last decade, we saw IMAX projecting more 3-D content, mostly in museum exhibitions. Slowly but inevitably, technologies began proliferating in order to produce digital copies of this type of content. This significantly enhanced digital technology has eliminated many of the less pleasant aspects of the 3-D experience, such as eyestrain.

Related story: Interest Growing in 3D Video

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