Majority vote no on 3-D TV

Survey after survey continues to show that 3-D-capable TV is not enough to justify buying a new TV set. A full 83 percent of Americans said so in a new study conducted by Deloitte.

Based on a survey of 1960 U.S. consumers, Deloitte researchers found that 72 percent of consumers have cut their overall entertainment budgets, and a large majority is in no mood to upgrade to 3-D technology.

The results are similar to other recent consumer surveys. Despite the industry hype promoting 3-D TV for the home, most Americans are ignoring it. The survey found that several factors contribute to the indifference to 3-D TV.

First, millions of households purchased HDTV sets over the last few years. In 2009 alone, more than 31.5 million flat-panel HDTV sets were sold, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The CEA’s estimate of HDTV penetration in U.S. households is 63 percent; Nielsen surveys put it at 54.2 percent.

Also, 3-D glasses are not popular with consumers. Nielsen found that viewers don’t like them because they can’t multitask while wearing them. The Deloitte survey found the same thing. “Aside from possibly being uncomfortable and geeky, they are also a barrier to the multitasking that consumers engage in while watching TV, including surfing the Web, reading e-mail, talking on instant message and reading books, newspapers and magazines,” said Ed Moran of Deloitte.

High cost is another factor. Of the flat-panel TV owners in Deloitte’s survey, 60 percent said they wouldn’t pay more for 3-D capability. Twenty-one percent said they would pay a premium of around 10 percent.

Finally, the lack of good 3-D content played a major role. One-quarter of participants that had seen 3-D content were not impressed by it. Only 9 percent of the sample had seen 3-D TV firsthand in the last six month, and 7 percent purchased 3-D content for the home.

Of that group, 55 percent said 3-D met their expectations, while 24 percent said it didn’t live up to them. A third said it didn’t enhance the experience of watching TV, and of the 24 percent who were not impressed, 13 percent got sick watching in the format.

Younger people, Deloitte found, are the most enthusiastic about 3-D TV. Forty percent of those from age 14 to 27 said they would buy a 3-D TV set with glasses, while 55 percent said they would buy one without glasses. That presumed they would have well-paying jobs in the future.

Deloitte conducted its survey between June 29 and July 11, 2010, polling Americans ages 14 to 75. The margin of error is plus or minus five percentage points.