It seems to me that 3D isn't faring as well as the manufacturers had hoped. I guess consumers are smarter and more savvy than the industry thought. I've really felt like they've been cramming 3D tech down our throats as a way to maintain their sales levels on TV units. Apparently that wasn't enough and so now Sony is sweetening the 3D pot with free streaming 3D content.
Like Samsung, Sony is now ready to offer free, on-demand streaming service of, and I quote, "a range of promotional video clips and trial content in 3D."
RRRTTT! Stop the presses. It's what?! Promo clips? Trial content? Wow Sony, I mean really?
Now I know, you're about to write off some $3B in losses (or just did), but really, I can't see this being useful or really beefing up those flagging 3D TV sales.
OK, so there have been some 3 million Blu-Rays sold with 3D on them, well, 1.75M and 1.7M in hardware bundles (or else why would you buy a 3D-compatible unit right?).
Another sign that 3D isn't quite as catchy, is the fact that lower prices are being predicted, before the holidays even arrive. The price difference is about $400 and could be as little as $150 between 3D capable and non-capable units before the holidays said Retrevo.com recently. They also cited the lack of great content as a reason for the slow sales and the price drop.
Active or Passive? ask TechnoDad!
On top of all of that, there's still bickering in the industry. LG says that consumers prefer passive 3D, Sony says that's wrong we want active 3D glasses.
You're both wrong (and stop squabbling about everything already you two or we'll send you to your rooms without supper!), consumers want no 3D glasses because, we either don't want to wear glasses, or do wear prescription glasses and don't want to wear two sets (which looks and feels dumb).
TechnoDad (my awesomely tech savvy father) has glasses and refuses to get a 3D TV because of that. So NNNNNNTTT! Wrong answer Sony (and LG). On top of that, if you ask TechnoDad about it, he'll state that he doesn't want to have a stack of glasses lying about so when people come to visit they can watch as well and will cite the small proper viewing angle as a problem. Considering their living room is much longer (and ends at the patio door and the kitchen) than it is wide, this is a serious issue at their place.
Rejoining the Stream
So back to the Sony streaming service. Aside from just falling in step, behind Samsung, the only thing they've really manage to do here, was bungle it. Sorry Sony, but it's true, Samsung is offering free content and is already working on premium content. Sony simply announced they would expand the content. Samsung is offering it all to owners of 2010 and forward Samsung 3D TVs and I bet that same content will head to whatever other electronics they slap 3D into, most likely, the Galaxy series tabs and phones (probably in the Galaxy S III or IIID if they're feeling puny) and perhaps a Galaxy 10.3D for the tablet after their new 10.1 (clever right?).
Sony is only offering the content to owners of 2011 Bravia 3D capable TVs, all eight SKUs.
They're only offering promo clips, even though some of the content comes from 3Net where they are one of just three partners (Discovery and IMAX being the others). Not even full content from there (because it's a subscription channel on DirecTV I bet, and they still charge $10 for HD).
Really who all of this should be aimed at is gamers. 3D has been around for a while and is picking up a bit more speed than it is with standard consumers. PC gamers are used to all sort of gear, like glasses, to get better performance and better images, I imagine that many of them would be open to watching 3D content on their computers, more so than the average consumers anyway. NVIDIA knows this, that's why they've got 3D Vision Live.
Here's my thoughts on a roadmap for 3D adoption:
- Get the gamers in since the average age is 37 it's a target market
- When the gamers are in, get their families in (offer 3D kid's content)
- When they're in, get the significant others involved (family-friendly 3D content, not all Hollywood Action blockbusters)