3D hardware for the home has been doing well at retail; year one adoption of 3DTV is running at a far quicker rate in most territories than it did for high definition, bolstered by 3DTV prices falling by close to 40 percent in some cases, according to Futuresource Consulting. Furthermore, the company predicts global sales of 3DTVs will exceed 4 million this year: 1.2 million 3DTVs will be sold in Western Europe alone, rising to more than 3 million in 2011. In the US, it expects more than 5 million 3DTVs to be sold next year.
The television market's traditional factors like screen size, display thickness, and the quality of image are reaching their peak. As a result, 3D capabilities will increasingly be bundled with other features like connectivity, Web services, and energy efficiency so that manufacturers can battle over more than just price point.
Despite this, autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3DTVs are coming and thus many consumers are willing to skip the current 3DTV generation. While small screen sizes are okay for auto-stereoscopic 3D devices since they are viewed close-up by a single person, scaling to larger sizes for a living room environment presents a significant technical challenge. Futuresource's research shows that autostereoscopic technology is at least four years away from a large screen solution for the home, and even then it won't reach mass-market pricing till a few years after that.
"3DTV will continue to provide 'premium brand' CE manufacturers with a way to differentiate themselves from the competition and add value for consumers," Bill Foster, Senior Technology Consultant at Futuresource Consulting, said in statement. "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 glasses technology, as used in cinemas, is still more expensive to produce for the home and will remain costly for some time, as the TV requires a polarised screen. In addition, 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."
3DTVs are coming, whether you like it or not. The question is, are you going to adopt soon or will you wait?