Arnold then acknowledged something others in the industry rarely admit: “The industry got caught up in a juggernaut,” everyone going in the same direction in hopes of reversing the sales decline.
Richard Doherty, research director, Envisioneering, pointed out, “The benefits of 3-D TV on home size displays were not shown to consumers versus the nuisance (expensive, battery discharging 3-D active shutters, dim displays).” Noting that active shutter 3-D TVs have to be twice as bright, Doherty said that 3-D TVs looked terrible to anyone in the room without 3-D glasses.
3-D’s thusfar modest success in movie houses didn’t translate to the 3-D TV experience at home, because in a theater, 3-D movies are offered in a controlled-brightness environment and “everyone is wearing glasses (polarized), and no one, (hopefully!), is tilting their head or walking around,” Doherty explained. “In the home, life is different.”
Why UHDTV is different
Doherty firmly believes that “UHD IS different for a host of reasons.” He said that UHDTV offers a “true YOU ARE THERE” experience. It is “equivalent to 35-mm to 70 mm film resolution displays of movies, live entertainment and sports. Everyone can see it.”
He said, “Whether 47-inch, 60, 85-inch, UHD becomes the benchmark or Panasonic 17-inch laptop displays (shown at CES, stunning!), or Apple UHD products (they make a big deal new MacPro server provides 4 simultaneous 4K UHD outputs), UHD is coming.” Doherty added, “With less hype than 3-D, one hopes.”
Meanwhile, both NPD’s Arnold and IHS’ Dash pointed out that “no need to wear glasses” as the one of the biggest reasons why UHDTV differs from 3-D TV.
That goes without saying, but what about the availability of UHDTV content?
Dash sees little problem. “Many TV brands are actively working to provide UHD content, either through upscaling or through the creation of proprietary UHD content. Already, Japan has plans to begin UHD broadcasting as soon as 2014, two years earlier than originally planned. Also, 4K cameras and camcorders are now on the market, enabling creation of 4K content. Movies in 4K are likewise starting to show up.”
Such technology upgrades, however, may be spawning a little too much wishful thinking on the part of the consumer electronics industry. It remains uncertain how quickly broader content offerings – such as sports originally created in 4K — will become widely available in broadcast programming.