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Nielsen: Glasses a big concern with 3D TV

A survey by Nielsen reveals that the 3D glasses required for new 3D TVs are the main hinderance to consumer adoption.

Yes, the glasses do matter to prospective 3D TV customers.

Nearly three-quarters into the first year of the latest launch of 3D TV, a Nielsen survey released Thursday finds plenty of reluctance among consumers to embrace the technology. Much of it is centered on the need to wear 3D glasses.

Fifty seven percent of people surveyed said the glasses were a major reason they were unlikely to buy a 3D TV. Nearly 90 percent said the glasses would hinder multitasking while watching television.

The survey also found that the percentage of consumers who said they'd be interested in a new 3D TV in the next year actually went down when those same consumers were brought in to see how it actually worked (my guess: their interest fell at the exact moment they had to put on the glasses, and it never recovered). Aside from concerns over spectacles, the study cited cost and lack of 3D content as other issues.

On the flip side, a majority of those surveyed thought the 3D TV experience was better than they expected. Seven out of 10 gamers also said they'd be interested in 3D games.

The results, particularly the resistance to the need to wear glasses, were not hard to predict. We've had a chance to test a few 3D TVs here at CNET, and yes, it's impossible to work on a laptop while wearing them--aside from the darkening caused by the lenses, the LC shutter glasses make laptop screen unwatchable with flicker--which would preclude the kind of Facebook checking and other multitasking that's so common while watching TV.

For people who already wear glasses, like me, the second set can feel bulky, especially for extended periods. For many people who don't, being able to lie on your side while watching (which also makes the 3D image difficult or impossible to watch) might be more important than being able to see that third dimension.

It's also worth mentioning, again, that the glasses cost $150 per pair, and are not compatible across different manufacturers' TVs. These issues are likely to disappear in the next few years as a 3D glasses standard evolves and prices fall, but in its first year, 3D TV at home is still a tough sell..

And it's just a matter of time--perhaps sooner rather than later--before glasses-free 3D comes along to make the current iteration, and all those expensive pieces of dorky-looking eyewear, seem obsolete. For the record, however, I'm still betting on "later."