$800 per family for 3D TV glasses?
Big time gadget makers filled this years this year’s Consumer Electronics Show with 3D TV’s, promising that consumers can enjoy an “Avatar”-like experience at home some time this year. And the news is even better — research firm Gartner says that it only costs about 15 percent more to make a 3D TV than a regular flat screen, so the TVs may be affordable.
Here’s the thing. The glasses. You must have them. And they are fragile. And they cost a lot. Like, more than the TV itself, if you’ve got a big family. Gartner analyst Van Baker explained on a conference call:
“If you are talking about a family of four, that’s $400-$800 you are going to be spending on the micro-shutter glasses. Not to mention that the glasses can be lost and can be broken.”
Ouch. But can’t I just use the movie theater glasses I stole… i mean… forgot to return, from, you know, “Avatar?”
“Unfortunately if it’s an LCD television, those already have polarizing filters built into them, so the glasses that you use when you go to the movie cannot be used. You have to use the micro-shutter glasses that actually open and close shutters on a very rapid basis to give you the 3D effect. And those glasses are expensive. the industry is going to have to come to grips with how they (deal with that).”
“By this coming holiday season, its likely you will be able to buy a 3D TV for just slightly more than you are paying for a flat panel television today. But if you need additional family members to be able to view it, the cost is going to be something that you are going to have to step up to.”
Baker also addresses a major issue for yours truly, who tends to get headaches at 3D films, and often watches non-action scenes sans paper glasses. (And doesn’t normally speak of himself in third person.)
“Even in the theater, a lot of people like 3D, but a lot don’t like 3D. It makes them uncomfortable. People find that if you’re off to the side its a much less rewarding experience, a much less rich experience.”
(Check out Gizmodo’s Wilson Rothman’s saga about seeing Avatar while seated at an awkward angle while wearing prescription glasses)
So, are you thinking of buying a 3D TV when they hit the store shelves this year? Let us know.
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