The 2012 London Olympics is 3D TVs’ big opportunity

3d-olympics3D TV faces an undecided future. The medium has been simultaneously called doomed and awe-inspiring, and sales numbers have been anything but consistent. While the long term future of home 3D remains undecided, there is one lurking event that could give it a considerable boost: the Olympics.

Today the BBC detailed its planned 3D coverage for the Olympics, and it should be a beacon of hope for the struggling industry. The BBC’s Roger Mosey says the network will air the opening night ceremony, men’s 100-meter final, nightly highlights, and the closing ceremony in 3D.

Few events could be as perfect for 3D: it’s cinematic but revolves around sports; it’s internationally broadcast; and it has what you could call a captive audience. Now it’s up to 3D manufacturers to make the best of this moment and sell us on 3D TVs. 

The Super Bowl’s loss is the Olympics’ gain

Sports were made for 3D, this much we’ve come to realize. Sure, there are all sorts of barriers (filming it can be a challenge, and once again everybody hates wearing those glasses), but the general consensus is that sports fans are in favor.

That’s why everyone is scratching their heads about the Super Bowl. You’ve got the biggest national televised sports event, an event which is infamously tied to TV sales, and you don’t try to push a new market that needs all the help it can get? What gives? Seems like some executives from sports networks and TV manufacturers could have worked out some sort of equally advantageous arrangement.

NPD analyst Ben Arnold talked about this mistake, calling it a “missed opportunity for TV manufacturers and content providers who have invested substantially in the technology.” He mentions that a recent report showed 60-percent of sports fans want to watch games in 3D, a number which undoubtedly would have translated into some early 2012 sales for 3D TVs.

So all those sports fanatics who live for the thrill of athletic cinema and would have bought 3D TVs this February, are now ripe for the picking, and manufacturers should take note and start planning their campaigns for this summer. Analysts obviously believe that big sports moments are going to translate into big sales numbers, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the Olympics. Disappointed that the Super Bowl wasn’t in 3D? Don’t worry – we’ve got weeks’ worth of international sporting competition to ease the pain!

So you may not have netted the Super Bowl, 3D TV industry, but now you’ve got some bigger fish to fry. 

The Olympics and TV sales are a match made in heaven

Regardless of sports in 3D, the Olympics have always been an event that drives TV sales. During the Beijing Olympics, the demand for large screen TVs increased more than 84-percent year-over-year in China. The hosting country wasn’t the only one to experience this: New Zealand experienced increased TV set sales two weeks out from the Olympics, and the North American TV set market saw big numbers in the third and fourth quarters of 2008.

It’s like the perfect storm, but with a much happier ending for TV makers. The Olympics plus 3D coverage means a market that they’ve been trying to sell could finally see a little love. Consumers could benefit from sale prices in the lead-up to the event as well.

Comfort and content have been the two big put-offs, and obviously the Olympics is only going to address one of these – we definitely don’t think this is the big turnaround. The living room is not about to be revolutionized come summer. However, it is a big opportunity to chip away at the naysayers and corner everyone who’s currently on the fence. 

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