Following the Consumer Electronics Show last month in Las Vegas, I was struck by how many new angles were available on the 3D story (no pun intended). While it’s hard to imagine 3D ever reaching the mass-consumer popularity of, say, HD flat-panel TVs or iPods, I do believe the technology has finally arrived and will play a major role in our industry.
In their respective stories, Michael Heiss and Tony Grimani have done a remarkable job of looking past the media hype from CES by diving into technical and marketing details of evolving 3D platforms and products. Heiss (p. 24) does his best to glean actual delivery dates and price points, as well as anticipate what content and format obstacles still remain.
Though he agrees with most of us that content is still a primary driver in the development of 3D, Grimani’s column (p. 18) digs much deeper by addressing the technical realities of what he actually saw behind those uncomfortable 3D glasses at the show. Although Tony is not a huge fan of 3D, he, like many of us in the CEDIA channel, agree that “you had better be ready” to answer your client’s questions about the technology when they ask.
And that’s the same pragmatic point of view shared by Jeremy Burkhardt, who doesn’t technically have a horse in this race (except through attachment sales, I suppose). In his column (p. 16), SpeakerCraft’s president encourages electronic systems contractors to jump on the 3D opportunity right now and to develop the market quickly. He counters the 3D excitement with a sober step-by-step tutorial on sales fundamentals, encouraging dealers to make a list of past clients and a sales strategy for reaching out to them.
So what do I think about 3D? Honestly, I can’t imagine wearing goggles in my home theater, let alone in my family room. I do, however, believe that gamers will love 3D and that a certain demographic will want it just because their neighbors don’t have it. That’s exactly why our channel needs to embrace 3D. We’re the ones that have always offered the newest and most difficult technologies to understand. When products have gone mainstream, then we need to find another challenge. This one, however, will remain in our hands for the time being.
I also agree with my writers that no matter what any of us thinks about the technology right now, it’s best to put those feelings aside and provide clients with the best experience possible. Early adopters are our core client base, and they’ll be asking you to help them make the smartest investment on the coolest new toys.
With the market relatively saturated by HDTVs, it’s hard to imagination another video display technology selling in volume like that anytime again soon. But this mini trend remains another revenue source that can help us fill the pipeline until something larger and more universally beneficial, like home healthcare or energy management technology, takes its place.