updated 03:20 pm EST, Wed December 22, 2010
Study says majority of North America dislikes 3D
Most people in North America not only aren't buying 3D TVs but are consciously avoiding them, Nielsen found in a new study. About 59 percent of those in the US and Canada said they would "definitely not" buy a 3D TV within the next year. Only six percent said they would likely buy a set, while exactly a third said they either weren't sure or were unlikely; just two percent has a set.
The trend carried over to a lesser extent in Europe, where 45 percent were certain they wouldn't buy a 3D TV while only 15 percent said they probably or definitely would buy soon. Demand was more favorable in other parts of the world despite the increased price barriers in many of those areas.
About 60 percent of those given a half-hour sample of 3D TV said it was better than 2D, but just under half said it was more engaging. The results showed a relatively close spread in the kind of 3D content viewers wanted to see but noted that only some of what they wanted to watch was the focus. Sports, often given the most 3D support, were out in front at 64 percent, but concerts and video games had less than majority support despite some attempts to push the formats.
The resistance was partly blamed by Nielsen on the Blu-ray versus HD DVD conflict. Price wars between the two led many to expect prices to drop rapidly, the study said. Some also didn't like the glasses needed for most 3D sets, and others allegedly just wouldn't be exposed to it until service like an all-3D channel went live in 2011.
Viewers might also have to be reassured that 3D was simply a bonus on top of regular 2D and see it in everyday situations, such as an evening drama. "Special episodes" of shows might be an option, CBS' research chief David Poltrack added.
The results would still point to 3D TV adoption growing, even in North America, but suggest that the rapid adoption hoped for by TV makers wasn't coming to pass. 3D dominated the CES 2010 expo, with every manufacturer having the option, but the TV market has been down in the US as a whole and has led companies to slash prices across the board, particularly for 3D.
While not mentioned in the study, most 3D TVs still currently carry a premium of a few hundred dollars or more over their 2D equivalents and are thus expensive for relatively little gain. The cost often comes from the 3D glasses, which when they use active shutters can often cost $150 per pair when not bundled with the TV. Some companies, such as Samsung and Sony, took preventative steps from the beginning and shipped some 3D sets without any glasses.