Will 2011 be the year 3D television gains significant traction in the consumer marketplace? Market analysis firm iSuppli seems to think so, forecasting that lower prices and the wider availability of 3D content will drive shipments of 3D televisions up 463 percent in 2011, reaching a total of 23.4 million units worldwide for the year. And that’s just the start: iSuppli sees yearly shipments of 3DTVs increasing by 132 percent in 2012, with the global market accounting for 54.2 million units. By 2015, iSuppli sees manufacturers shipping 159.2 million 3DTVs—at that point, 3DTVs will be just over half all flat-panel TV shipments.
“Television brands are changing strategies this year following lukewarm response to 3D in 2010 when consumers balked at the high price of sets and the lack of 3-D content,” said IHS iSuppli’s director for television systems and retail services Riddhi Patel, in a statement. “In 2011, however, brands are marketing 3D not as a must-have technology but as a desirable feature, similar to the approach they have taken with Internet connectivity.”
The broader availability of 3D content is also propelling interest in 3D-capable televisions, and iSuppli forecasts that broadcast 3D television content will see an upswing, particularly for sports, but moving into primetime entertainment, movies, documentaries, and other features. Combined with lower prices, having more 3D content in the market makes consumers’ choice easier—and instead of selling 3D as a mind-blowing showstopping feature, manufacturers are positioning 3D technology as a way to “future proof” television purchases: if consumers buy a 3D-capable TV now, the technology will be there for them whenever they decide they need it.
According to iSuppli, the most popular 3DTV size in 2011 will be the 40- to 41-inch range with about 3.3 million units, followed closely by some 2.9 million units in the 55- to 59-inch range.
iSuppli also forecasts that LCD 3DTVs will remain the dominant technology in the 3DTV markat, accounting for about 83 percent of 3D-capable sets sold in 2011. The company also forecasts active shutter glasses will eventually go the way of the dodo, with passive 3D shipments surpassing systems that require active shutter glasses by 2015.