Despite an eye-watering price of $2899.99 for a 50-inch plasma TV, one set of 3D glasses and a 3D Blu-Ray player, the bundle appears to have found incredible success. A shocked Hitoshi Otsuki, Senior Managing Director for Panasonic’s overseas operations, said, “It’s a great opportunity to turn around our TV business.”
Do these strong sales indicate that 3D TV has finally arrived? It’s tough to tell.
Electronics market analysts aren’t completely convinced. Kaz Miura, an analyst at Tokyo’s Daiwa Securities Capital Markets group said that the announcement is driven by early adopters with deep pockets. “There are always people who want to buy high-end products,” he said. “That’s probably what’s driving sales.”
In the short term, a lack of content will certainly hamper sales. Other analysts, such as Ichiro Michikochi, cite these issues as the reason why the medium hasn’t matured further. “It will probably take a long time for 3-D TVs to expand broadly, maybe about three years,” Michikochi said. “There isn’t enough content and consumers dislike wearing the glasses. Those issues will take time to be solved.”
These are certainly promising early signs for the medium. However, it remains to be seen whether or not content offerings will expand quickly enough to make 3D the new HD. We’ll be watching closely, though.