The tech sector is a darling of the investment community, if for no other reason than companies such as Microsoft
Which brings us to the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where most of the world's electronics companies come out to play. (Everyone, that is, except for Apple
Nowhere is it more fun, and more socially accepted, to be a geek than at CES. At this year's show in Las Vegas, we're seeing triple -- and it has nothing to do with late nights at the tables.
Three-dimensional television is the story of this year's show, and it's going to be the buzz technology that existing and potential investors will be buzzing about as we ponder what this brave new world of viewing will mean to the developers' bottom lines.
Sony, Panasonic, and LG Electronics are all in for 3-D. According to company representatives at CES, Sony and Panasonic will hit the market first. Sony is adding 3-D models to its Bravia line in three waves, beginning in late February, in sizes that range from 32 to 60 inches. Panasonic is on a similar schedule, rolling out sets in the 50-to-65-inch range in March. (Yes, size apparently matters to Panasonic. Its 65-inch 3-D model is the largest announced.) LG has not yet announced a firm date for its 3-D Ultra Slim models, while Toshiba is trotting out a technology that converts 2-D content to 3-D.
Consumer appetite for three-dimensional content is clearly growing -- consider Avatar. A Panasonic exec on the show floor suggested one in 10 feature films are now being shot in 3-D, so the pipeline is beginning to fill up quickly. Cable networks are jumping in as well, notably Discovery Communications
So what's an investor to make of 3-D TV? I'd suggest assessing its viability through the same lens as nascent hi-definition television. Sure, few of us would admit to having anything less than HD in our homes, but widespread acceptance of the technology was a crapshoot not so long ago. 3-D TV could hold the same promise as hi-def, or hurdles such as the accompanying glasses that will work only with a proprietary brand's television set might alternately annoy and confuse the crowds.
Sure, we're all going to look like we're in the Land of Oz, but at least we'll be doing so in our own living rooms.
What's your take on 3-D television? Chime in below in our comments section.
Cathy Applefeld Olson, a Fool contributor, is taking her money to the blackjack table. Walt Disney and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Options Diagonal Call recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is always a safe bet.