Talk to the chief executive at Best Buy, the nation's largest electronic retailer, and you'll get the lowdown on what is really going on with 3D and Internet-connected TVs: Consumers just aren't buying as many as had been expected.
Best Buy's chief executive Brian Dunn told analysts on Tuesday: "There was confusion about 3D early (on)... It was a little short on content." Though overall U.S. retail numbers are slightly improving in this economy, many big-ticket, newfangled electronic consumer products aren't really moving.
Seems the new-age electronics/media consumer is more cautious -- not sure where all the new digital TV/Internet technology will end up. Who wants to buy a 3D Internet-connected HD TV screen for the holidays 2010, only to discover that a better TV screen of the future (3D with no special glasses required, for example) will be on sale in 2011? Television sets may last 10 years or more for some people. Who can spend $1,000 or $2,000 every few years for the latest and greatest?
Consumer electronics executives say TV sales will improve once more 3D content becomes available next year -- and when consumers start recording their own content on 3D-enabled camcorders.
Significant quality and performance always seem to be promised with new technology. But how much real improvement? One business analyst said: "When you get into $2,000 TVs, you start thinking: 'At what point do I really need this, and is it going to make my viewing experience that much better?'"
Of course, when and if all the world's TV content is produced in 3D, much will change with consumers, especially if pricing takes its usual consumer electronics path and declines.
Future surveys over 3D TVs may appear to be glowing -- but the current business reality on the street may be yielding more of a down-to-earth, two-dimensional result.