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Steve Chiotakis: CBS says it’ll show college basketball’s Final Four in 3D at about a hundred theaters, calling it an experiment. Other networks, including ESPN, are in the planning stages of a full-time 3D sports TV channel. It’s all part of the next big thing: television that comes at you. Samsung and Panasonic are already selling 3D sets in the United States. And as Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson reports, while it’s early, the electronics firms are hoping consumers grab it.
Jeremy Hobson: James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, says today’s 3D TV market is like High Definition TV was back in 1998, before broadcasters were offering much content.
James McQuivey: There’s almost nothing that you can watch in 3D today.
He says that’s slowly changing with Direct TV planning to create three 3D channels by summer and Sony releasing several 3D games.
McQuivey: Gamers are the niche of an audience that you really want to go after if you’re Samsung or Sony, because these are people who stare at the screen in a dark room for hours at a time, and wouldn’t mind putting silly glasses on their head to do so.
About those glasses: All the companies making 3D TVs are making glasses with different technology. So you can’t take your Samsung glasses to your friend’s house to watch her Panasonic 3D TV.
Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, says he doesn’t expect that to be a problem as the market matures.
Tim Baxter: I’m quite confident that we will quickly migrate towards an industry standard on glasses.
But even now, he’s bullish on sales.
Baxter: Our view of the industry is that in the U.S. alone, there’ll be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 to 4 million 3D TVs sold this year.
That’s about 10 percent of new TV sales.
Riddhi Patel, director of television services at the market research firm iSuppli, says if you’re buying one, make sure it’s big — at least 50 inches.
Riddhi Patel: You want an immersive experience when you are looking at 3D TVs.
And you’ll pay for it. Prices range from around $2,000 up to around $7,000.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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