“No Glasses 3D” May Demand a New Category

Posted on October 5, 2010

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Toshiba has announced that it will produce 3D television sets that do not require viewers to wear glasses.  According to a New York Times report, the technology involves “a high-definition screen backlit with LEDs, a special sheet placed on top of the screen and Toshiba’s Cell chip technology to display information from nine images created in real time from a single frame.”  The technology ensures that the right eye and left eye each views only certain images within each frame to create the 3D effect.

While many people may view the only recently available 3D TV as an evolutionary outcome of digital–then high-definition—TV,  “no-glasses 3D” really is a brand-new category.  From a technological standpoint, it certainly is innovative, but from a public relations and communications perspective, it’s classical.

Category creation is one of a large number of strategies that a public relatiions firm like Airfoil, my employer, may choose to pursue on behalf of clients; particularly for products that compete or will be entering a crowded product or service category.  If you’re staring at a packed elevator, sometimes the best solution is to find a faster way to the top.

The glasses-less 3D technology may require at least three types of strategic approaches:

  • An educational program that familiarizes consumers with what 3D without glasses is, what it looks like, why they should try it and how it will improve their entertainment experience.
  • Content creation, in which the company marketing the product develops its own media to build its brand, rather than relying only on news media that may not fully grasp the product’s capabilities.   For many companies, Airfoil develops content that includes specialized websites to show how a product works and explain its benefits, blogs that offer tips on product usage, e-newsletters targeted to specific interests of niche audiences and direct-marketing publications that make it easy for consumers to try the product and to purchase it.
  • Strategic affiliation also can be a valuable element of a marketing strategy.  By becoming an active member, speaker, exhibitor and/or thought leader in consumer and industry groups that, in this case, foster home entertainment and movie/video production, the company can gain increased credibility for its product, along with broader support efforts.

The news that George Lucas is releasing all six Star Wars films in 3D was exciting enough; the prospect of seeing a 3D-CPO in my living room someday portends a whole new category of thrills.

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