I’m not a huge fan of 3-D, but this whole exclusivity arrangement with 3-D Blu-rays is getting really old really fast.
No one can fault you for buying a 3-D capable television this year. Sure, there are plenty of reasons not to, including glasses that only work on your particular brand of 3-D television, a small but noticeable price hike and the lack of content. But if 3-D is your thing, more power to you. Maybe you’re really into soccer, the NBA, college football or one of the other sports ESPN 3D is showing three dimensionally.
If you’re excited about 3-D Blu-rays, though, you’ve got some choices to make. Sure, you can buy a set based on the technical specs alone, but you’ve also got to determine what 3-D Blu-ray you want to watch while you’re waiting for the rest to finally come out.
Just like Sony and Microsoft do with their games, hardware manufacturers are getting timed exclusives on their 3-D Blu-rays. From the look of things, many of those exclusives will last well into 2011.
If you want ‘Monsters vs. Aliens,’ you’ll either need to get one of Samsung’s 3-D Blu-ray players and one of its 3-D televisions, or shell out $350 for a pack with two pairs of glasses and the 3-D Blu-ray. And don’t even think about getting that 3-D Starter Kit if you’re not using a Samsung set. The glasses probably won’t work. Even if they do, you may end up having to wear them upside down.
Panasonic is worse by far. ‘Coraline’ and ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’ were already announced as exclusives to be packed in with Panasonic products. If rumors are to be believed, ‘Avatar’ is going to be on that list too.
Admittedly, none of these exclusives are likely to sway savvy consumers. You’ll look at the specs online, demo the sets in a store, compare picture quality and features to make the buying decision based on quality alone, not the extra content. Like many 3-D television owners are already doing, you’ll either wait for the 3-D Blu-rays to come out or buy the exclusive discs on eBay.
I’d like to give the general public a little credit here too. I don’t think many people see the addition of a $50 disc as a huge bullet point when comparing a pair of $2,500 televisions. Some will, but most won’t.
Sure, the exclusivity deals won’t last forever. But until they expire, we’ve got a few months of waiting, or buying second hand Blu-rays on eBay.