Why Panasonic Will Look Silly With 3D TV Glasses

Avatar's record-breaking Blu-Ray sales this week has television manufacturers scrambling to announce even more 3D home televisions -- "Imagine how well the Avatar Blu-Ray would sell if it was actually 3D?" -- but the fast-moving technology is quickly leaving major companies in the dust. A perfect example is Panasonic, which just rolled out a new technology that's already obsolete.

From Digital Trends:

Panasonic has released the first batch of prices for its line of Viera 3D TVs due out this summer:

The 50-inch model will cost $2,599.95, 54-inches will run you $2,999.95, a 58-inch set is listed at $3,399.95, and the 65-inch set will cost $4299.95. The 50 and 54-inch models will ship in May, while the 58 and 65-inch are due in June.

All units will also feature top of the line 1080p HD. Each unit will ship with one set of the "3D active shutter eyewear", but additional sets will run $149.95 each.

Yes, you read that right. "3D active shutter eyewear" is just marketing-speak for 3D glasses. You look funny wearing them, but that's not the main reason these models just aren't going to sell. Consider:
  • 3D isn't necessary yet. Aside from the occasional sports program, what will the consumer watch? 3D programming isn't supported much because the average consumer doesn't have a 3D television... because 3D programming isn't supported much. It isn't possible to convince them to make the leap right now. And the recession isn't done yet.
  • TV isn't a solo experience. From the Super Bowl to the American Idol finale, group-friendly programming is the reason why people buy huge televisions. Pricing glasses at $149.95 a pop, Panasonic has told its audience that it will be watching TV alone.
  • 3D glasses are already passé. How so? Special glasses may not be necessary to deliver the 3D effect. Just yesterday Gizmodo talked about upcoming glasses-free devices:

Sharp was first out the door with its parallax barrier technology, which is apparently being used in the Nintendo 3DS, to skirt around wearing glasses when viewing 3D. Toshiba's now got similar a 21-inch display which also doesn't require glasses.

Enough said. Like Nintendo announcing a new 3D system on the eve of its 2D system release, Panasonic now has the inevitable task of promoting obsolete technology. It's too late to turn the ship around, but Panasonic should have seen this coming.