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Price, content availability key to 3D market success

Posted: 02 Jul 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D? video market? digital content? 3D TV?

3D technology is seen as one of the key drivers for future revenue growth, with hardware manufacturers, content providers, broadcasters and pay-TV operators looking to take a share of the spoils. Although the market remains at the very early stages of its development, delivering a more immersive and compelling consumer content experience with the addition of 3D will be a key to boost market expansion, both from a device sales perspective and from content subscriptions, according to Frost & Sullivan.

"The past 12 months have seen a series of developments which have boosted the potential of the 3D video market," says Adrian Drozd, Principal Analyst for Frost & Sullivan's Telecoms group. "The focus for the industry is now bringing this experience into the home environment and, beyond that, the mobile device realm."

While 3D-capable devices (i.e. TVs, STBs etc) are now becoming more widely available, high price points and limited content availability remain key growth inhibitors. 3D TV costs are substantially higher than those of standard sets, with additional consumer investment needed to equip each viewer with the necessary 3D glasses. Even more important is the lack of content available today, with only a limited number of pay-TV operators broadcasting 3D content. Furthermore, while a number of 3D-capable Blu Ray players have been launched by leading manufacturers, only a very limited range of 3D movie titles are expected to be made available this year, further reducing consumer appeal.

The gaming industry is also seeking to benefit from increasing consumer interest in 3D. Sony recently announced a number of 3D gaming titles and is expected to provide further firmware upgrades for the PlayStation 3 later this year that will enable 3D Blu-ray disk playback; such a development could provide a timely boost for the 3D disk market. For Nintendo, the focus is currently on portable gaming, with the newly announced 3DS delivering a 3D gaming experience without the need for glasses via its parallax barrier screen.

The Nintendo 3DS will not be the first mobile device to feature 3D capabilities. "As far back as 2007, Samsung launched the first ever mobile 3D phone, and has recently launched an updated model in South Korea," adds Saverio Romeo, Senior Industry Analyst for Telecoms group at Frost & Sullivan. "Other mobile device manufacturers are working on the topic, such as Nokia with the 3D graphics research stream and Motorola with the launch of its first mobile 3D phone."

3D content providers are also increasingly looking at applications in the area of gaming, location-based services, and social networks for mobile 3D. "One question mark remains with regards to 3D mobilecan the same compelling experience that has attracted consumers to 3D cinema (and, to some extent, 3D TV) be replicated on the small screen," raises Romeo.

"3D video is in its infancy; cinema success has shown there is consumer demand for 3D, but transitioning the experience to the home environment will take time," concludes Adrian Drozd. "High set-up costs will ensure that 3D TV services remain in the early adopter phase in the short term, while content availability will be key to driving uptake once this initial obstacle is overcome."

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