$800 per family for 3D TV glasses?

January 13, 2010

ces 3d tv

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 forces 3d tv glasses a 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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(Photo: Reuters)


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The 3D hype has come around about every 15 years since color movies first made motion 3D possible. Why is there never sustained popularity? It’s very simple; approximately 12% of the population does not have binocular vision which is necessary to see the stereoscopic effect. With those odds, there’s a one in four chance that your spouse is among those who cannot see 3D with shuttered lenses. An expensive new 3D TV is going to be a hard sell, if your life partner literally can’t see it.

Posted by wildcatherder | Report as abusive

How exactly does 12% translate into 1 in 4 people? Despite your math, it’s more like 5% of the population that does not have the binocular vision necessary to see the stereoscopic effect and that includes those who have lost an eye or with severe lazy eye or strabismus.

Those without any severe conditions but with some sort of binocular vision problems STILL can train their eyes to see in stereo which usually is caught at an early age.

Posted by dirn2000 | Report as abusive

The math giving 1 in 4 from 12% is blindingly obvious, if you’ll excuse the pun. A more pedantic version might say 22.56% of couples are likely to have at least one partner who does not have binocular vision.
Can’t comment on the 12% vs 5% figures, not knowing where these number came from…

Posted by chuchylla | Report as abusive

How about a DLP like Mitsubishi? Can I wear the cheapo theater glass then?

Posted by icuondatube | Report as abusive

LG FPR 3D Glasses too provide family glasses at a lower rate.Today looking for the comfort and handy glasses the best choice is the FPR 3D Glasses which is free from flicker , no crosstalk image, no battery, comfortable watching at any position and above all health friendly too.

Posted by kuraf | Report as abusive