Sales Of 3D Glasses To 3D TVs Below 1:1 In Western Europe

Jonathan Sutton

Despite the efforts TV manufacturers and content providers have put into promoting 3D TVs, the latest report from DisplaySearch indicated that the buying public remain unconvinced by the extra-dimensional techology, largely due to expensive prices and a relative dearth of 3D content. Furthermore, the report found that consumers have not taken a liking to 3D glasses, with less than 1 pair sold per 3D TV set in most Western European countries.

In its Q3’10 issue of Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, DisplaySearch expects worldwide 3D TV sales to reach 3.2 million units in 2010, a figure which has been revised downwards from the 3.4 million units forecast in the preceding Q2’10 issue. The percentage of 3D TVs as a proportion of all flat-screen TVs shipped this year has also been cut accordingly from 5% to 2%.

Paul Gray, TV electronics research director at DisplaySearch, blamed the high cost-to-switch and the paucity of available 3D material for the sluggish 3D TV uptake, even though TV makers have introduced more 3D TV models to offer the buying public more choices.

Approximately half of the 3D TVs will be sold in North America, with DisplaySearch predicting shipment volume of nearly 1.6 million units in this region. DisplaySearch’s director of North American TV research Paul Gagnon said that many North American consumers are still taking a wait-and-see approach, not least because historically new technological products have tended to drop rapidly in price beyond the early-adopter phase.

As 3D TV prices fall and more 3D content become available (e.g. the recent launch of Sky 3D channel), DisplaySearch forecasts that global 3D TV shipment will rise to 90 million units in 2014, constituting 41% of all flat-panel TVs purchased then.

However, it appears that compulsory 3D eyewear remains a major obstacle to such optimistic predictions. The same report revealed that in most Western European countries, less than one pair of 3D glasses has been sold for each set of 3D TV purchased, which is quite far off the 2:1 target ratio (i.e. 2 pairs of 3D glasses per 3D TV). This could be a sign that those who have invested in a 3D TV are doing so for future-proofing – they will wait for 3D content to become widely available before spending more money on 3D glasses. It is also not beyond the realm of possibility to imagine a small minority of consumers buying 3D TVs for their 2D picture quality while ignoring the 3D side of things.