updated 10:35 am EDT, Wed October 13, 2010
DisplaySearch finds buyers reluctant on 3D TV
Despite frequent attempts to push 3D TV, electronics makers aren't getting the adoption they were hoping for, DisplaySearch found today. Just 3.2 million TVs sold this year, or two percent of all flat screen TVs, will have 3D built-in. Moreover, the attach rate of extra 3D glasses to TVs is less than one to one, suggesting most 3D TV buyers have no intention of using 3D and are simply being forced to get 3D to get the other features they actually want.
""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," TV Research head Paul Gray said. "And at worst it's an indication that consumers cannot buy a premium set without 3D."
Companies such as LG, Samsung and Sony have all designed their lineups around 3D, in many cases making the best picture quality or Internet support available only with a 3D set. The glasses themselves are regularly a major obstacle as they cost about $150 per pair and often make family or group viewing too expensive. Some have recognized the problems and made TVs that are 3D-capable but don't include any glasses, lowering the price but giving an avenue to a future upgrade.
The researchers still expect 3D to be a mainstream feature by 2014, when as many as 90 million 3D TVs could ship, but much of this may come simply from dropping prices as 3D filters down the rest of the line.
DisplaySearch believed a chicken-and-egg dilemma might also play a role. Without much content to watch, viewers have had little incentive to pay extra for a feature they likely wouldn't use. Only a handful of Blu-ray movies will show in 3D, and 3D TV has usually been limited to tests with sports in the NFL and the World Cup. DirecTV and Sony have been pressing for dedicated 3D channels but, even with launches, often have very limited programming to run.