January 6th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin
- Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Panasonic, LG all make announcements about & demonstrate 3D sets they’re launching today at Consumer Electronics Show
- 3D-fueled Avatar hits $1 billion of box office receipts in 17 days
- ESPN, Discovery and iMax launch 3D cable channels
What can stop this? Nothing. We will all watch everything in 3D — live & recorded; fiction & real-life action; professional content & user-generated; and on every screen whether it’s on a wall, in a pocket or connected to a keyboard & even by a variety of ubiquitous projectors that will turn any surface into a 3D display.
Great, with the head of steam we’ve got that should be soon, right? No. I have no idea when it will happen, but I can assure that we’ve got multiple years to go, maybe even decades, before our video being in 3D becomes more rule than exception.
Consider the following similar scenarios I recall from eight years working in the cable industry:
- Operators were working to free up the spectrum to carry HDTV in the nineties, but now two decades later less than half of U.S. homes are HD-equipped
- Broad video on-demand usage is happening about in sync with HDTV uptake, but encouraging results form famous trials in Omaha, Orlando and elsewhere stirred up projections for VoD to boom even earlier than HD
- For all of the 15+ years that the web’s been popular some have said it will imminently cross over to TV displays, but options to surf and access web content on the tube are only available the last few years, and they’re still really more science kits than instant, user-friendly options
- Perhaps most daunting of all, in the SEVENTIES, the Qube project for interactive television in which viewers could take electronic actions on content in their programming, and pundits are still wondering whether THIS YEAR might be the one one in which iTV finally takes off
When will mass adoption of 3D finally extend to all video, consumed anywhere, at any time, on any device? Don’t know, but I expect no sooner than:
- The price ranges of 3D display devices recedes, with a low end starting in the hundreds of dollars
- The 46% of US households with HDTV sets need some time before those move from the living room to the bedroom in order to make prime in-home real estate available for 3D to arrive
- No glasses required
What else will have to happen?