SportsTechLA: CEA Survey Says Sports In 3D Driver’s Seat

In December, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held a quantitative online survey of 1,914 U.S. adults and derived a first look at whether 3D can become a viable home-entertainment technology. During SVG’s SportsTechLA event Jan. 19 at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Shawn G. Dubravac, chief economist and director of research at the CEA, presented some of the findings from that research. The underlying takeaway was uplifting, if unsurprising: sports will drive the medium, just as it did for high definition.

“People bringing 3D TVs into their homes consider themselves sports fans,” Dubravac said, “and one-third of above-average sports fans plan to buy a 3D TV in the next year.”

Based on the study, the CEA projects that, by 2013, more than one-quarter of all TV sets sold will be 3D, and home adoption will be driven by access to content, primarily sports. The study also found that, in addition to being sports fans, respondents planning to buy a 3D TV have a higher income (58% make more than $75,000) and are younger (54% are under 40 years old).

Just as consumers gravitated to HD both because they enjoyed watching it and because they wanted to show it off to friends, 3D is event-driven and group-friendly.

“Consumers are interested in coming together and enjoying an event, a movie, a sporting event in 3D and then going back to HD,” Dubravac said. “We need to make sure consumers understand it’s not 3D all the time.”

Although the survey’s findings were certainly promising with regards to sports, he cautioned that there is an adoption curve. “We need to realize that 3D isn’t for everybody, especially in these early years,” he said. “We all want to draw linear demand curves, and that’s not how technology adoption works.

“This is a nascent technology,” he continued. “As an industry, we’re inclined to rush these things; we want to drive it into the home, and, in doing that, we end up tripping ourselves. We need to make sure that we’re consistently marketing the technology and the experience, and recognize the audience that we’re talking to.”

The industry must continue to educate consumers to the fact that today’s 3D is different from the 3D of several decades ago, and the CEA is also looking into additional research on the effects of 3D on health.

“There is definitely room for follow-up studies,” Dubravac said.

The results from this study will be available online, at the CEA’s Website, www.ce.org.

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