Michael Gartenberg is not a true believer that 3D is the next big thing for HDTV sets.
The problem is there’s a huge difficulty involved in launching new formats, especially one like 3D. We’ve seen this time and again. First, you need broad hardware support, and 3D doesn’t have it. Sony and Panasonic are taking two different approaches to the 3D market, meaning they’ll both be selling incompatible equipment at high price points — yep, another format war is brewing, and consumers just love when that happens. It’s one reason why vendors like Philips are staying out of 3D for the time being.
Second, you need deep content support. At the moment, there’s far more content available on good old HD than there will be in either 3D format and that’s not going to change very fast. Unless you’re a really big fan of a particular title that’s available in 3D, you’re likely to sit this out for a while.
Mr. Gartenberg is right on the money with respect to the hardware and content support. HDTV manufacturers are better off going after the low hanging fruit:
- Ethernet connection
- DLNA certified
- built-in hard disc recorder
That is until the content catches up. It is well known that Sony was able to give Blu-Ray Disc a leg up thanks to the PS3 and it is attempting the same for 3D. They are in a unique position to provide a complete solution from the content in packaged media, to the BD player, to the HDTV display. Gaming will the the camel’s nose under the tent.
Panasonic, however, did beat Sony to the punch with its deal securing James Cameron’s Avatar as a vehicle to promote its 3D technology. Panasonic also has a partnership history with Disney. They see a strong content partner as the key to driving HDTV display sales.
Ms. Ault’s article, above, about Avatar, includes well deserved recognition of Mitsubishi and their 3D Ready technology. They are also going to ride the Trojan horse 3D by way of gamers, as evident by the sweepstakes they are running with IGN.com. They even have a nice disclaimer mentioning the need for a compatible 3D source and how a future 3D standard may render this system moot. The current package is powered by nVIDIA’s 3D Vision stereoscopic technology.
It would appear that Panasonic is collecting content and focusing on the new, emerging standard. So far, in their court may be:
- Fox, distributor of Avatar
- ESPN and ABC, since they happen to be owned by Disney
- add Marvel and Wideload Games to that list soon
Those last two open up some interesting gaming possibilities, so Panasonic is paying attention and covering their bases.
However, you can’t just hand Panasonic the victory. There are still some HDTV and BD player manufacturers, as well as movie studios unaccounted for in this discussion. Perhaps they are biding their time, not ready to jump into new waters before the format decision is made (Yes, Warner eyes are on you).
It sure will be interesting when music stops and the next round begins.