3D TV: How Much Are Consumers Willing to Pay?

Will 3D be affordable enough to get consumers to buy a new TV, Blu-ray player or gaming console?

3D TV: How Much Are Consumers Willing to Pay?
Lisa Montgomery · October 9, 2009

The jury is still out as to whether or not 3D will be the next big thing in consumer electronics. Big-name manufacturers like LG, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and Sony are betting on it, either having already released 3D TVs or planning to in the near future.

You can bet that by 2010, there will be many choices dotting the 3D landscape, but will those choices be affordable enough to get consumers to actually go out and buy a new TV, Blu-ray player or gaming console?

According to a survey by In-Stat, it doesn’t seem likely. While more than 64 percent of those surveyed were at least somewhat interested in 3D technology, only about 25 percent were willing to spend extra for the 3D technology. In fact, 43 percent said they’d like to spend less than $200 for it. However, when it came to 3D content, 67 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to pay more for a 3D version of a Blu-ray disc then a 2-D version.

So how big will the premiums be for 3D TVs, players and discs? Manufacturers are keeping pricing info close to their chests. Although Sony and Panasonic both plan to release their first 3D models in 2010, neither company would comment on the expected price tag of those units. At $2,199, Mitsubishi’s 65-inch (WD65837) 3D-ready TV is priced lower than other 65-inch 2D TVs currently on the market.

Besides price, what else could hinder 3D sales? Having to wear those dorky glasses, perhaps? Not likely, says a study by Quixel Research. The study found that while some consumers consider the glasses a nuisance, they’re not annoying enough to most to break the deal. Still, when given a choice, many said they would pay more for a 3D TV that requires no glasses. Comfy? Yes. The best option? Probably not.

One of the major disadvantages of 3D technology that requires no glasses is poor viewing angle, says David Naranjo, Mitsubishi director of product development. “Once the viewing angle is off center, the consumer loses the 3D effect.”

What might be more of a roadblock, though, is the availability of 3D content, namely 3D content besides movies. “Sports would be a killer app,” says Bob Scaglione, Sharp senior vice president of product and marketing group.

According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, there are fewer than a dozen 3D discs currently available.

Related: Panasonic Aims for 3D TV Dominance
3DTV Shipments to Reach 46 Million in 2013

  About the Author

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in addition electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at [email protected]

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