Is It Time to Get a 3-D Television Set?

by: Larry MacDonald

3-D television sets are coming onto the market. Should you buy one now or wait? For most, it will be best to wait. The reasons include:

  • True 3-D content is limited: The best a viewer can hope for, at present, is “a half-resolution 3-D signal from their cable or satellite-based distributor,” says technology and media analyst Carmi Levy

  • 3-D movies can be watched on a Blu-ray player plugged into a 3-D TV set but there are only a handful of discs presently available — with titles like My Bloody Valentine 3-D and selling prices around $35

  • 3-D TV sets are currently pricey — for example, Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) is asking close to $3,000 for its 46-inch screen, a Blu-ray player and two pairs of 3-D glasses

  • In a another year or two, “3-D TV sets will be sold at the same price as their 2-D equivalent; the only extra cost for the consumer would be the 3-D view glasses,” says a report from UBS Securities

  • Viewers have to wear battery-operated glasses and watch from a particular spot in front of the set to get the illusion of depth; some people may get headaches and other discomforts from the glasses

  • At $250 each (or thereabouts), the cost of the glasses for a family or friends can add up

But sports fans, movie buffs and avid gamers might be interested in taking the plunge now

  • In June, ESPN Inc. is scheduled to launch a 3-D channel with a minimum of 85 live sportscasts in 2010, including FIFA World Cup soccer matches this summer.

  • In June, DirecTV (DTV) subscribers should have access to three 3-D channels (and the library of discs for Blu-ray players should keep expanding – Hollywood studios are allocating more resources to 3-D entertainment and Disney (NYSE:DIS) and DreamWorks (NASDAQ:DWA) have announced that all future animated titles will be available in 3-D).

  • This summer, Sony (NYSE:SNE) is expected to launch a 3-D TV line-up, and its PlayStation sets should have the capability to play games and movies in 3-D.

In 2011, devotees of educational television might be interested in 3-D TV sets: Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCK) plans to launch, with Sony and IMAX Corp. (NYSE:IMAX), the first dedicated 3-D TV network in the U.S, which will run natural history, space, engineering, science and technology programming, as well as movies and children’s shows.

Next, read this post on how to invest in the 3-D television providers