As 3D televisions slowly make their way into consumers’ homes in the year 2010, there have been mixed reports — some positive and some negative — about how well 3D TVs are doing all over the world. The latest piece of data comes from Japan, traditionally a technologically-advanced nation with lots of early adopters, and unfortunately it’s not good news.
Kakaku.com, a publicly-traded Japanese price comparison website, conducted an online survey among its Japanese users concerning their interests in purchasing a 3D TV. Out of 8,957 respondents, 67.4% stated that they had no plans to spend money on a 3D TV, and only 31.2% considered buying one.
This may come as a blow to Japanese TV manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic who have been heavily marketing 3D TV as the next step-up from HDTV. Together with Korean rivals such as Samsung and LG, Sony and Panasonic have fast-tracked their release of 3DTVs — riding on the success of 3D movies like Avatar 3D — in an effort to capture more market share in the still fledgling 3D display arena.
Tsuyoshi Kamada, Kakaku.com’s media-creative director, commented in a report which accompanied the survey, “TV makers’ expectations for 3D are high but looking at the degree of interest among consumers, there is a big gap with the enthusiasm of manufacturers.”
The Kakaku survey also delved into the put-offs cited by respondents who had no interest in buying a 3D TV. An alarming 70% blamed the need to buy and wear special 3D glasses, which is quite worrying given that mass-market availability of wide-angle glassless auto-stereoscopic 3D display technology is still a good few years away (at least). High price tags and lack of 3D content deterred 57% and nearly 40% of respondents respectively.
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, was quick to jump to the defense of the mandatory 3D glasses, explaining that “If you really want a big theatre experience, of course you have to wear glasses. With the latest technology, the glasses are light and you kind of forget you’re wearing them after awhile.”
It has to be said though: if a country as tech-obsessed as Japan is hesitant on embracing 3D TVs, responses in other nations would probably be even more tepid. As always, actual sales figures, rather than surveyed data, will deliver the final verdict.