Like It or Not, This Is the Year You’re Supposed to Upgrade to a 3-D TV

It doesn't matter if you're not a fan of 3-D at the movie theater, let alone in your living room. 3-D TVs are coming!

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Robert Daly, Getty Images

Teenage boys watching television with 3-D glasses

It doesn’t matter if you recently purchased a regular 2-D LCD flat screen. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a fan of 3-D at the movie theater, let alone in your living room. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to wear the goofy glasses, or that there’s not much 3-D programming to watch. 3-D TVs are coming!

Or so says a new report from market research firm Display Search. Shipments of 3-D TVs doubled in the first quarter of 2011, from 1.6% to 3.9% of LCDs. That still seems pretty puny. But, as manufacturers are “aggressively working” to increase “3D TV panel penetration,” the forecast shows that by early 2012 nearly 21% of LCD units are expected to be of the 3-D variety.

That’s not to say that consumers are exactly clamoring for the new technology. Despite being heralded as yet another “next great” thing, before this report came out 3-D TV sales had seemed much weaker than anticipated. My TV-loving colleague at the Tuned In blog placed 3-D television in the “Department of Un-Asked-For Tech.” [time-link title=”(See the 15 smartest toys for young geniuses)” url=,28804,2049604_2049620_2049591,00.html]

So, despite the new report and its optimistic, manufacturing-friendly forecast, are consumers really going to adopt this technology in significant numbers?

The major push for 3-D TV comes right after the major ongoing push for 3-D movies. But recently, it’s looking like movie goers don’t particularly like 3-D in the theater, especially not if it’s going to cost them more for a ticket. The new “3-D effect,” if you will, is that 3-D may actually hurt a film at the box office. It appears as if more people would have gone to see the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” film if it had been shown on more traditional 2-D screens—which are cheaper and more family-friendly (because young kids don’t like the glasses) than their 3-D counterparts. The NY Times also reported that 3-D may have been bad for business with all sorts of recently released movies, especially animated films like “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Hop.”

Are we really supposed to believe that, just as movie goers are falling out of love with pricier 3-D films, they’re supposed to be falling in love with pricier 3-D TVs?