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3DTV Is Inevitable But Will Anyone Use It?

by David Mercer | 5月 09, 2011

At the recent Blu-ray Academy and Mediatech conference in Hamburg, Germany I presented Strategy Analytics’ vision for the future of 3D in the home, focusing on the European market opportunity. We are clear that 3D in the home is going to happen, and more rapidly than some observers seem to think.

(I was surprised recently at the response to our recent 3D forecasts by the normally reliable CEA, whose Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac described them as “the worst forecast yet”. I worry for the CEA’s own forecasts if this overreaction reflects the quality of their analysis. Since we published our 3D analysis, several other analyst firms have come out with similar pictures, and the industry itself also seems to be in broad agreement. Time for the CEA to clarify why it’s out of line, perhaps.)

In spite of the CEA’s scepticism, we estimate that some 15% of European homes already own a digital TV set-top box which is 3D-capable, and nearly as many own a 3D-ready games console. The number of homes with 3D-ready TVs is very low, of course, but now growing quickly as 3D becomes a more common feature on plasma and LCD TVs. By 2014 more than 40% of European homes will have a 3D-ready TV, and nearly a quarter will own a 3D Blu-ray disc player.

In spite of these projections there is still a lot of work to be done to dispel some of the uncertainty surrounding 3D. Our European surveys (carried out in Q3 2010) indicated low levels of understanding of 3D issues. Only just over a half of Europeans correctly believed that 3D TVs were available to purchase: the remainder were uncertain or believed wrongly that it is not possible to buy a 3D TV. Likewise, barely half of Europeans know that you need glasses to watch a 3DTV at home. The greatest lack of knowledge surrounds the health impact of 3D TV: only 32% of Europeans believe that watching 3D TV does not cause damage to the eyes: half are unsure and 17% believe it does cause damage.

These are big communications challenges for all industry players to overcome. Nevertheless there is evidence of strong interest in 3D TV, with two thirds of Europeans interested in watching 3D movies and nearly a half interested in 3D versions of TV shows. As the base of installed 3D-ready hardware grows, the opportunity now lies with television content producers to make the most of this opportunity. If that content doesn’t materialise people may never see a need to put on the goggles.

David Mercer

Client Reading: 3D in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

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