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Illumination & Displays

3D TVs face hurdles

Wall Street Journal and Business Week
9 October 2009

Despite a major push by manufacturers of 3D TVs, Panasonic Corp.'s president acknowledges that it will be challenging to lure mainstream consumers away from their newly purchased flat-screen TVs to upgrade to 3D sets.

Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo said it's a "very ambitious" undertaking to persuade people to make the switch to 3-D and it may take "three to four years" before it starts to gain broader appeal. Panasonic has said it plans to introduce a 3D TV next year.

The Japanese electronics company also announced it is sourcing more components from places where the currency is tied to the U.S. dollar to offset the strength of the Japanese yen, which it said was putting the company at a disadvantage to rivals, particularly from South Korea.

Technology analysts and a recent survey seem to agree. A February survey by the University of Southern California's Entertainment Technology Center and the Consumer Electronics Association found that consumers would be willing to pay a premium--but not a big one--for a 3D-capable TV: $150 to $200 more than one that only handles 2D images. More importantly, the survey results showed that only 16% of adults were interested in watching 3D movies or TV shows at home.