Glasses-Free 3D Televisions Flop (But The 3DS Won't)

Later this month, the Nintendo 3DS will go on sale in Japan. Players can enjoy 3D without the glasses, and all early indications are that this handheld is going to be a hit. Glasses-free TVs, however, are floundering.

When pre-orders kicked off for the 3DS last month, gamers lined up early in the morning to ensure that they could get the portable. At one store in Osaka alone, over 600 hundred people lined up! And this was during a weekday. And for a pre-order. And it was cold.

Yet, Toshiba's glasses-free television is getting the icy shoulder from the Japanese public, which seems so keen on the 3DS. Toshiba sold half of what it intended during the first month that its glasses-free sets were on store shelves, reports Bloomberg.

Toshiba is offering a 20-inch glasses-free 3D set for ¥240,000 (US$2,900) and a cheaper 12-inch model. That right there is the problem: small sets at high prices. But Toshiba isn't alone with its struggles with 3D. Sony, a company bullish on 3D, is also experiencing lower sales than expected for its 3D sets, which do require glasses. Ditto for Samsung, who called the demand "relatively weak".

Demand for the 3DS, on the other hand, seems to be anything but. So it doesn't seem to the 3D that's turning them off. Then again, if you stamped "Nintendo" on a bag of moldy tangerines, people would buy it.

Still, the 3DS is going to be the first mass market glasses-free 3D product. If it succeeds and if everyone doesn't get headachey, 3D will succeed in the short term. Everyone's counting on you, Nintendo 3DS, don't make us barf!

Toshiba's glasses-free 3-D TVs flop [The Japan Times]