According to one European analyst, 3D TV sales are healthier than HD TV sales were at the same point early on in the life cycle of the product.
UK analysts at Futuresource Consulting claim that the sales performance of 3D televisions is healthy when compared with the initial sales of high def TVs at launch, despite widespread cynicism about the early adoption of 3D in the home.
"The retail performance of 3D hardware for the home has been developing at a healthy pace, bolstered by 3DTV prices falling by close to 40 per cent in some cases, and year one adoption of 3DTV is running at a far quicker rate in most territories than it did for high definition," claims the new industry report from Futuresource Consulting.
Futuresource predicts global sales of 3DTVs to exceed four million this year, 1.2 million of which will be sold in Europe – expected to rise to more than three million across Europe in 2011.
"3DTV will continue to provide 'premium brand' CE manufacturers with a way to differentiate themselves from the competition and add value for consumers," according to Bill Foster, Senior Technology Consultant at Futuresource Consulting.
"For systems that use active glasses technology, manufacturers are now able to embed 3D chipsets at a relatively low cost, allowing them to increase their margins while still keeping 3D affordable."
Passive auto-stereoscopic glasses still costly
The passive glasses tech that we are all familiar with from cinemas, is going to remain costly for some time, as the TV requires a polarised screen. Plus, as the report notes: "passive systems are unable to show 3D in full 1080p, as the picture on the screen is polarised, with half the image delivered to the left eye and half to the right."
"Toshiba's announcement about its autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3DTVs, combined with a number of optimistic predictions across the industry, may be discouraging some consumers from investing in the current generation of 3DTV," adds Foster.
" Futuresource research shows that autostereoscopic technologies are at least four years away from a large screen solution for the home, and it will likely be a few years beyond this before sets reach mass-market pricing."
The new study concludes that the 3D capabilities of new TVs, along with other new features such as connectivity, web services and energy efficiency will be the key new factors in the major manufacturers battles over unique selling point and price point in 2011 and beyond.