3D TV: the sets heading your way in 2010

3D brought the crowds in at CES 2010
3D brought the crowds in at CES 2010

Before the release of Avatar in December, nerves must have been high in the AV industry about their upcoming 3D announcements at CES 2010.

Sure, there were a number of 3D-related movies on the roster. But while UP, Monsters Versus Aliens and A Christmas Carol were all a successes, they gently rocked the box-office boat rather than setting it on fire.

To break box-office records, it would need somebody who was well aware of creating big movies. That somebody was James Cameron.

Now that Avatar is the second biggest movie of all time – with Cameron's Titanic still in number-one spot – the proliferation of 3D announcements at CES makes complete sense to the mainstream media.

But look beyond the deeply flawed idea that whatever 3D success is happening in the cinema at the moment can be echoed in the home and what you have is a nervous TV industry looking to 3D as a saviour.

Panasonic 3d

The AV industry has been pushing the idea of 3D in the home for some time now (both Sony and Panasonic chose IFA 2009 to pledge allegiance) but CES 2010 will be remembered for its 3D slant.

But why 3D and why now? A lot of it has to do with the muted response to Blu-ray by consumers, and the industry looking for the next big thing after HDTV.

Yes, HD is bigger than ever and more people have HD-ready sets in their homes, but prices have hit rock bottom. You only have to look in your local Asda to see the results of this.

Rock-bottom prices are not great for TV manufacturers. Although they always want TVs to be 'affordable', there needs to be enough space in the pricing to make a profit.

3D TV is perfect for money-making. Sony, one of the big guns in the 3D world, is to start making 3D-Ready badges for its upcoming range of TVs. Each TV with one of these badges will cost significantly more that a non-3D version being released.

Even though there will be a significant lack of 3D media to play on your 3D TVs, you have to remember that this hasn't stopped consumers buying an HDTV before they have anything that pipes out HD content to plug to the telly. Consumers love a bit of future proofing now and again.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.