下面Insight Media的這篇報導確實發人深省，其並非無的放矢或危言聳聽，但卻說出發展3D背後的隱憂。3D從數十年前就曾經歷過幾次的流行，但是就不曾有過像今年這麼地風起雲湧，尤其是由世界級的家電大廠領軍帶頭往前衝，積極地推廣以「3D TV」為主軸的3D產業；不過就在同時，我們也發現不少3D發展的負面阻力與障礙，會將這股舉世3D的狂熱逐漸澆冷，如果今天我們能夠克服這些阻力與障礙，則我們就有機會將3D推向主流產業；反之，這百年難得一見的3D榮景，有可能會從此衰敗下去直到下次的輪迴再生。
那麼，什麼會造成3D發展的阻力與障礙？主要有：缺乏優質3D內容、充斥許多劣質3D內容、配戴3D眼鏡不舒服與不習慣、容易產生頭暈目眩、沒有標準制訂所以造成各家的3D TV與3D眼鏡不相容、…等。我們從這些造成原因來看，硬體的標準制訂還不會是最大的阻力，因為市場的自由競爭下自然會有人勝出，在市場自然的淘汰下，勝者為王，就會篩選出消費者最需要的標準出來；至於3D眼鏡的配戴不舒服與不習慣，確實是現階段推展「3D TV」很大的障礙，不過這是可以透過人體工學設計與學習適應觀賞3D TV來改善與降低阻力。剩下來的就與3D內容有關了，其實我們也都很清楚，「3D TV」與「3D眼鏡」都只是觀賞3D影像的輔助工具而已，它們本身並不具有傷害性，真正會讓人感到不舒服、頭暈目眩、眼壓升高、…等，是因為看了3D立體影像後才會有的症狀；而真正優質的3D立體影像會讓人感到自然、舒服、愉悅與心動。
可惜的是，目前真正優質的3D內容實在太少了，反而市場上到處充斥劣質的3D內容，尤其是今年「AVATAR」襲捲全球3D電影票房後，Hollywood就有不少電影片商想搭此「AVATAR」3D熱的便車，將原本2D影片，在非常短的時間內，硬生生地轉成3D影片來發行(其中不乏有知名電影公司)，其結果可想而知，被大家罵翻天，認為是非常不道德的行為：要觀眾花比2D電影高的票價，去觀賞劣質的3D電影。我自己最近就去看了一部這樣的「3D電影」，由派拉蒙(Paramount)出品的「降世神通最後的氣宗」(The Last Air Bender)，全片只有字幕是立體的(因為所有的3D效果都是拉平躺在影幕內)，這種假3D之名行詐騙之實，非常令人不齒。更令人不解的是，居然還有「3D TV」的大廠如Samsung、Sony、…等，竟然將即時(Real Time)「2D轉3D」的功能附在其「3D TV」產品來行銷，其目的是要解決當前3D內容不足的權宜之策；但這種「2D轉3D」的3D效果與品質比劣質3D電影還差，對其「3D TV」產品的推廣不僅沒有幫助，反而卻是幫倒忙。
Pushing Back Toward the Ditch
I have been saying, to anyone who will listen, that the 3D craze we are experiencing now is just that — a state of euphoria about 3D that will give way soon. What is up ahead is a ditch. If we can overcome the push back that will develop for 3D, we can jump over the ditch and take 3D to an established mainstream offering. The alternative is to fall into the ditch, where 3D will languish until its next resurrection.
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
Such a concept is not new and has been characterized as the "chasm" by other groups. Some technologies just never get past the initial early adopter phase and wallow in the chasm.
What can make 3D stumble? Lots of things like lack of 3D content, poor 3D content, equipment and component incompatibility issues, bad word of mouth and a hundred other little things. This creates push back, which can spiral out of control and kill a product or technology.
What prompted this column today was a story in The New York Times with the headline, "Resistance Forms Against Hollywood’s 3-D Push." In the article, Michael Ceiply quotes a number of influential directors voicing their concerns about 3D movies, as well as consumers who may becoming less enthusiastic about paying higher ticket prices for 3D films — especially if the 3D is not so great.
The gist of the comments from these directors is that not all content should be shot in 3D or converted from 2D. 3D should be considered where it adds value and complements a good story. It cannot be the reason for the film.
They are unhappy because of the studio’s attitude toward 3D, which certainly seems to be more revenue based than artistically motivated. Some studio executives are pushing to convert 2D films and shoot new projects in 3D — and the directors are pushing back — which they should. This 3D craze must give way to a more reasoned approach to the use of 3D. It is not an afterthought in the content creation process, but an integral part. And, not all content should be shot in 3D.
There are plenty in Hollywood who subscribe to this latter point view, but certainly not all the decision makers — especially when piles of cash are involved. Add in the potential for consumer push back on higher 3D ticket prices and we are looking at some bumps on the 3D road that could land us in the ditch. And there are more bumps coming.
In our forecast for the 3DTV market, we have tried to consider some of the forces that will drive 3D adoption. Currently, we are forecasting about 1M 3DTVs for the US/Canada region this year. This is quite conservative with other firms forecasting much higher numbers.
So when asked why, I explain how one of our analyses looked at the historical introductions of consumer electronics products over the last 20 years. We selected a highly successful product introduction to use as a model for our optimistic forecast. But if you look at the forecasted numbers from many other firms, these numbers are at or above our optimistic forecast. That means these forecasts are on a path to make 3DTV one of, if not the most successful consumer electronics product introduction ever.
We see several factors that will slow the penetration of 3DTVs. The most important is the availability of 3D content, which is in short supply. In addition, mediocre to bad 3D content will not help push the market forward — only really good 3D will.
Secondly, we are asking consumers to watch TV in a whole new way — wearing glasses. This may be fine for watching event-oriented content here in the US, but most of the world watches TV while multi-tasking, which is not conducive for wearing glasses.
Thirdly, today’s stereoscopic 3D introduces human factors into TV watching. Not everyone has perfect stereovision and the effect of the 3D is different in everyone, including children. The impact of this on adoption and push back is unknown.
On the other side of the coin, there are some forces pushing for stronger adoption. This includes increasing faster technology adoption cycles and penetrations, as the success of the iPhone and now iPad exemplify. In addition, new 3DTVs are loaded with extra goodies like widgets, Internet connectivity, LED backlights, super thin profiles and state of the art 2D image quality. Any or all of these features can be reasons to buy a 3DTV — even if the buyer doesn’t want the 3D part. Thirdly, inclusion of 3D capabilities in many new models is not a huge cost item, so including it in an expanding product line will happen.
So, if you ignore the push back factors noted above, you might believe 3DTV is headed toward establishing the most successful product penetration curve. But we don’t think so. Where do you stand on these arguments?