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3D TV shipments soar to 27.4M by 2012

Posted: 27 May 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D TV? LCD? Blu-ray?

TV manufacturers are expected to ship some 4.2 million 3D TVs in 2010, thanks to increasing traction and acceptance from enthusiastic early adopters, according to iSuppli Corp. The firm projects until 3D TV shipments will triple in 2011, reaching more than 12.9 million, before doubling to 27.4 million in 2012.

However, the market research firm said that for 3D TV to really take off it must solve a number of ongoing challenges, including standardization, content availability and interoperability. "Although robust growth of 3D TV sales appears to be assured during the next few years, mass consumer acceptance will not come until three critical issues are resolved concerning standardization, content availability and interoperability of the 3D glasses used to view the sets," said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for TV systems at iSuppli.

iSuppli projects that 3D TV unit shipments will reach 78.1 million, rising at a CAGR of 80 percent from 2010. Shipments of all types of LCD TVs are expected to hit 170 million this year, the firm said.

The Blu-ray standard for 3D TV, establishing 1080p 3D to each eye, was set in 2009, iSuppli noted. But other standards still being worked out to ensure a successful rollout, including HDMI 1.4 for a variety of 3D formats, SMPTE for 60fps resolution, CEA for 3D glasses and SCTE for 3D content over cable, iSuppli said.

A lack of compelling content is also an issue. According to iSuppli, content providers and broadcasters are pooling their efforts to develop 3D content availability and service plans. Sports network ESPN has declared its plans to launch the world's first 3D network, while Walt Disney Co. and Sony Corp. both have announced 3D Blu-ray title releases for 2010.

A third issue remains the use of 3D glasses or eyewear. While TV manufacturers might throw in one or even two pairs of 3D glasses to sweeten a 3D TV purchase, additional glasses to accommodate more viewers could be expensive, the firm said. There is also no guarantee that 3D glasses will be interoperable among brands, iSuppli said.

Technology for watching 3D TV without glasses is at least several years away, analysts say. Concern also has been expressed about potential health hazards posed by viewing 3D TV content, such as a warning issued by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd to Australian customers in April about potential dizziness, motion sickness and disorientation, iSuppli noted. University researchers have also expressed concern about vergence-accommodation conflict, which can lead to fatigue, eye strain and headache.

Worldwide 3D TV shipment forecast 2010-2015 (Click to view full image.)

The majority of 3D TV sales in 2010 are projected to occur in the mature TV regions of the United States, Japan and Western Europe, iSuppli said. Other countries that have rolled out 3D trials include South Korea and Australia.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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