Sony to Fight Off 3D Skepticism

By  |  Friday, January 7, 2011 at 7:07 am

The skeptics are wrong about 3D technology, said Sony CEO Howard Stringer, as he unveiled a far-reaching Sony roadmap for 3D “without or without glasses” across TVs, PlayStations, Blu-ray players, displays, movies, camcorders, and more.

Consumers will start to really buy into 3D technology whenever their favorite TV shows start showing up in 3D, he predicted, during a CES press conference.

Stringer contended that if anyone can convert the 3D naysayers, it’s Sony, with the company’s huge presence in the entertainment, hardware, and software industries.

To help prove this point, Sony brought actors to the stage from the upcoming 3D film The Green Hornet.

Reporters and analysts were asked to keep putting on and taking off 3D glasses to view a series of 3D vignettes, including scenes from Hornet and other 3D flicks, segments from a future 3D ad blitz from Sony, and still shots, taken by Sony staffers, of scenes in Las Vegas snapped with a forthcoming sub-$200 3D videocam.

Sony views a planned 3D Blu-ray player as one transitional step for consumers who want to start experimenting soon with 3D TV, according to Sony execs who spoke at the press event.

Sony will also produce other 3D cameras,  such as a higher-end 3D videocam with dual processors and dual sensors.

Hiroshi Yoshioka, executive deputy officer of Sony, pointed to several 3D wide panel displays now under development at Sony, including 56- and 46-inch LCD varieties and a 24.5-inch plasma model.

Sony has no timetable yet for these displays. “But we want you to know they are on the Sony radar,” Yoshioka said.

Stringer argued that since it’s a 3D world, and not a 2D one, people will start to prefer viewing multimedia images in three dimensions.

He also maintained that Sony has previously prevailed against those “skeptical” of other technologies, such as HDTV and before that, even color TV.

Some might counter, though, that in a tough economy, Sony and other vendors on hand this week seem to be placing very large bets on the proposition that consumers are anywhere near ready yet to pay premium prices for 3D technology.

Several barriers to 3D acceptance have been extensively pointed out, including resistance to 3D glasses, lack of much 3D content so far, and variable image quality.

The issues still linger, at this point. Not all that surprisingly, I heard a bit of audible grumbling among the “industry influencers” in the audience at the Sony press conference around the repeated requests to don 3D specs. Others who were annoyed might not have said so.

While the previews of Hornet and other movies earned deserved claps and cheers for their 3D effects, it frankly wasn’t always easy to tell that the photos shot with the under $200 camera were 3D – as opposed to 2D – images.

Although more 3D TV shows could help, will this be enough — in and of itself — to sell 3D to the general public?


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. johnwbaxter Says:

    Dear Sony et al,

    Re: 3D


  2. Jason Says:

    The fact that an industry is so set on pushing a technology that isn't wanted by customers and has no functional benefit to society continues to scare me. What a waste. 3D benefits the production and hardware industry far far more then it benefits consumers. The balance is off and I hope the industry gives up and moves very very soon. We consumers are not skeptical. We simply don't want it.

  3. Frank Says:

    I'm not sure if it will ever be possible to produce 3D image quality equal to high-end 2D images now available. People seem to have a natural reaction to image quality that, in my opinion, will overcome the novelty of 3D.

    On another front, there are people who can't see the 3D effect due to vision issues, depth perception problems or neurological reactions. I know a number of people who just see fuzzy off-color artifacts with even the latest and greatest 3D equipment. I'm also related to someone who gets optical migranes from viewing 3D shows. The doctors have told her that it's not as uncommon as you'd think. They've been seeing more and more cases in the last couple of years.

    Most important from an industry standpoint, I don't think it solves any problems or fills any needs for the consumer. HD made sense since television had such poor resolution, held over from decades past. The industry wants to displace a lot of new equipment out there, but the changeover to HD isn't complete. (There's still a lot of old TVs out there.) I don't think that many people are ready to reinvest a lot more money. I sincerely doubt that 3D will be the hit they're hoping.

  4. Collins Says:

    "The industry wants to displace a lot of new equipment out there, but the changeover to HD isn't complete. (There's still a lot of old TVs out there.)"

    I totally agree. At least here and many other parts of the world, even HDTVs still see very limited use. Most TV broadcasts are still done at traditional low resolution, BluRay players are still pretty costly to most regular Joes and Janes in developing countries, and so forth. So, unless one relies mostly to streaming content or console gaming as his primary source of entertainment, even HDTVs are more of a specialty item than anything.