'Love affair' with TVs ends
ESPN 3-D first victim of bust?
By SEAN DALY
Last Updated: 12:09 PM, September 6, 2011
Posted: 11:54 PM, September 5, 2011
The next big thing in TV -- 3-D -- is proving such a bomb with consumers, the first victim may be ESPN's sports-in-3-D channel.
"At one point last year they were actually openly questioning whether they were going to go ahead into year two," tech analyst Phillip Swann told The Post.
The problem is plain, he says. Most of the advertisers on ESPN 3D are the set manufacturers themselves.
And of sales of 3-D TVs show no signs they are going to pick up anytime soon.
"If those guys start to get cold feet, then I suspect ESPN 3D will bow out," he says.
The sports channel insists that ESPN 3-D -- which launched in June 2010 -- is in it for the long haul.
"New television technologies have always taken time to be nurtured and grow, and this is no exception," a network rep tells The Post. "We're where we thought we would be 14 months in, if not farther along."
But there is little enthusiasm for the new technology, even from sports people. "3-D on TV is a bust," says Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and head of HDNet.
"On the Mavs run to an NBA championship, despite me always throwing stuff at the 3-D cameras and having fun with them, not a single person mentioned the 3-D broadcast to me."
Swann believes 3-D has scared and confused consumers -- and is now tanking the entire retail television marketplace.
In a recent survey of 45,000 households, Riddhi Patel of research firm IHS iSuppli found that America's "ongoing love affair with television" -- new and improved sets, that is -- may be over.
Her research found that only 13 percent of those surveyed planned on purchasing a new set in the next 12 months.
Patel says potential TV buyers are most interested in price, picture quality and Internet connectability -- not 3-D.
"The idiot TV makers spent an enormous amount of time and money trying to get people to buy a television they didn't want in the first place," Swann wrote last week on TVPredictions.com, his influential tech site.
"Instead of being told that the new sets would deliver the best pictures they ever saw, they were told they would have to buy a set of 3-D goggles and watch programming that might make them sick!" I can see where that might be a problem.
Sagging 3D sales are already weighing on profits at Best Buy and other large chain stores, Swann notes.
"The industry knows what's going on," he says. "They just don't want to acknowledge that defeat yet. They have a lot at stake personally, professionally and with shareholders."
Point to ponder...when I was born in 1955 there were no satellites in orbit and only half of American households (30,700,000) had TV's. Oddly, in 2011 ownership seems to be dropping a bit of late, with 96.7 percent of American households now owning sets, down from 98.9 percent previously. Dare we hope that more people are reading and finding out about the world on the Internet? 'Cos I sure hope so.