The consumer electronics industry has failed to make the most of 3D TV's launch – that's the view of Tom Galanis, head of operations for US retailer Sixth Avenue Electronics. And he puts the blame firmly on the hi-tech active glasses required to view 3D programming.
Speaking at the 3D TV 2011 What's Next? conference in New York late last week, Galanis said that if he had to give the launch a grade, he'd give it a D: "As an industry we could have done a better job launching it. We should have had standardised glasses and we should have presented it to the consumer as a feature of a higher quality television."
He's convinced that the glasses are a major problem for current acceptance of 3D TV, and that the pricing of extra glasses is discouraging many consumers.
"If you didn't have [the glasses] it would have been a victory for 3D," he said, adding that customer uptake of additional pairs of glasses is slow. "I think $50 to $60 (£30-£40) is what people are willing to spend and aftermarket sales are not going well. People are only taking the bundled glasses."New York-based Sixth Avenue, which has stores across four states on the US East Coast, is currently selling Panasonic's TY-EW3D10U active shutter glasses for $150 (£100) a pair.
Some industry commentators expect consumer electronics companies to move from active glasses to the simpler, less expensive passive types currently used in cinemas and for the showing of events in pubs here in the UK, but Galanis isn't convinced that's a solution, in that it would create yet another conflicting standard, and spread consumer confusion.
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Instead he says the industry needs to standardise the operation of 3D TVs, making the glasses interchangeable – and presumably making it more cost-effective for accessory companies to offer third-party 3D glasses.
The current main offering, from Monster, is hamstrung by the need to work with a range of companies' 3D systems, and thus carries a hefty $250 (£150+) price-tag.
Galanis says that right now consumers are also being put off by the lack of 3D content to watch when they do get their new sets, and that as well as standardising glasses, electronics companies need to target their marketing around big 3D spectacular events, such as major sports.Follow whathifi.com on Twitter