Friday, January 8, 2010

Panasonic CTO: We Need 3DTV To Pull Out Of Slump

First of all, CES is one of the biggest shows I've ever attended. The variety of products being shown seems endless. And 3D seems to be a major announcement for both TV manufacturers and cable programmers. From Panasonic to Sony and Sharp, ESPN, Discovery, and others, 3D is the future of consumer in home entertainment. I disagree.

While it may be great for theatrical events like Avatar, it is less necessary for other programming. DO I really need to see The Biggest Loser in 3D! It's biggest stumbling block remains the glasses required to watch the shows. Cool at first, the glasses are a major drawback. My own kids take them off after a short while because they tend to be uncomfortable. The result, the unaided eye sees a blurry picture.

One day 3D will matter, but for the next 5 or more years, I see it limited to movie houses. What is more pressing in the home is a high speed connection to the TV enabling IP provided programming to reach the screen. As cable programming becomes more expensive, consumers will move their viewing habits to the internet for an a la carte programming experience.

And before 3D hits the home, the other service consumers will demand first is TV Everywhere. Microsoft has enabled it through their software in conjunction with AT&T. Sling is out there as well with the ability to move programming to other devices, too. TV Everywhere seems more appealing in the near future than 3D for the consumer.

Lastly, what was most interesting, perhaps even disturbing, was that the Consumer Electronic Show lacked a cable showcase. NBC was there, but no other programming. No Operators at all. No Comcast, No Time Warner, no one. The cable industry has tried to operate separate from the manufacturers and it seems that it will eventually be at cable's loss. Why aren't manufacturers touting cablecard devices integrated into their TV sets? Who should we blame? It seems cable. TV manufacturers are going around the cable operators with internet connections, not cable, and the operator will end up be on the losing end.

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