$800 per family for 3D TV glasses?

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).”

CES: Panasonic hopes to sell 1 million 3D TVs in first year

You may only have just heard about 3D TV, but Panasonic is already expecting it to be a hit with consumers. Yoshi Yamada, CEO of Panasonic’s North America unit, told us the Japanese gadget maker hopes to sell 1 million units — or more — and they won’t even hit the stores until the spring.

It’s not clear yet how much more the 3D TVs will cost than big screen LCDs that many people just bought to replace their old tube TVs.

And we can’t resist mentioning — again — the giant 152-inch LCD TV television that Panasonic is showing off here at the Consumer Electronics Show. Big is back, in emphatic fashion.

CES: Gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Electronics Show is underway, with myriad companies announcing new devices and services. Here’s a sample, as seen through the lens of Reuters photographers Mario Anzuoni and Steve Marcus.


the Infoscape concept at the Intel booth


Panasonic’s 3d Camcorder. Sure, it kind of looks like a “viewmaster”. But its one of the keys to creating 3D content for consumers to see when they buy a 3D TV.


A super-thin OLED screen from LG Electronics. OLED (Organic light emitting diode) screens are clear and bright, but TVs with the screens are still mostly small and expensive.