The Sony brand was once synonymous with high-end computer monitors. Graphic designers, business users, and PC game enthusiasts all wanted a big Trinitron CRT monitor. The transition to LCD monitors came before Sony had made any investments in large-area LCD production, so other brands were able to capture share in the monitor market. Despite Sony’s strong brand association for monitors, they exited this business in late 2007. Sony stayed in the PC business—notebooks, all-in-one PCs, and even tablet PCs—but hasn’t had desktop PCs or monitors in years.
So it was somewhat of a surprise to see a Sony 3D “display” (not a TV or a monitor) bundled with a PlayStation 3D and glasses, offered at two different national retail chains in the US.
On the Best Buy website, a glitch in the HTML programming indicates that the product is part of a test market as opposed to a roll-out to all 1,100 US stores.
The same product is also being promoted by gaming retailer GameStop which has 4,400 brick-and-mortar stores, but is not well known for display-related hardware for gaming. A quick search reveals that the product is also available at Target (at least Target.com), Amazon, as well as elsewhere.
The 3D display is branded PlayStation and comes from Sony Computer Entertainment, not the VAIO or TV group. So it is difficult to draw any parallels to the Sony monitors of the past or to the Sony TVs of today. The display seems to leverage an AUO 24” FHD LED-BLU panel.
3D “monitors” are nothing new and have struggled to gain acceptance. The positioning for this one is not very clear, since it is not really a monitor and it is not really a TV, but is basically a dedicated gaming display. We are watching sell-in vs. sell-through trends to see if the “3D monitor” market takes off. If just one major retailer picks up the product for nationwide rollout—as opposed to test marketing—then sell-in to the channel might grow rapidly as retailers need to have at least “one to show and one to go.” But, as always, sell-in does not mean sell-through.