3D TV is now readily available in retail, but the uptake among consumers has been limited by high prices and lack of content.
However, with falling prices, increased content availability, and improvements in technology all expected, there will be tremendous growth in 3D TV shipments over the next few years, according to DisplaySearch. The research firm forecasts that 3.2 million 3D TVs will be shipped in 2010, with growth to over 90 million in 2014. Based on this forecast, 3D will grow from 2% of all flat panel TVs shipped in 2010, to 41% in 2014.
"While TV manufacturers have bold plans and a lot of new products, consumers remain cautious," said Paul Gray, Director of TV Electronics Research. "Consumers have been told that 3D TV is the future, but there still remains a huge price jump and little 3D content to watch."
"North American consumers in particular appear to be playing a waiting game," noted Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research. "Set makers have trained consumers to expect rapid price falls for new technology, and consumers seem happy to wait a little." As a result, DisplaySearch forecasts that 3D shipments in North America will be just under 1.6 million this year.
DisplaySearch also found that sales of 3D glasses in Western Europe remain low, with most countries failing to achieve 1:1 sales of glasses to sets.
"This is particularly disappointing," noted Gray, "A healthy level would be closer to two pairs of 3D glasses per TV, so it?s clear that these sets at best are being chosen for future-proofing, and at worst it?s an indication that consumers cannot buy a premium set without 3D."
Nevertheless, 3D is a feature that set makers are determined to develop. 3D product choice is expanding fast with increased product launch plans and more set makers adding 3D. Rapidly expanding product offerings and 3D TV set prices have led DisplaySearch to increase its forecast for 3D in later years, with an anticipated 90 million sets being shipped in 2014.
"TV manufacturers strongly believe in 3D and are driving its cost downward, but its value to consumers relies strongly on the availability of quality material to watch," Gray concluded.