Need to wear glasses strangles nascent 3D TV market

Posted by Emma Woollacott

3D TV will never take off until viewers can take off their specs, says Informa Telecoms & Media.

But within five years, says the firm, over 20 million homes globally 1.6 percent - will have a 3D TV.

North America will lead the way in terms of number of 3D TV homes with 9.2 million, Western Europe will be the second largest region with 6.8 million and Asia Pacific third with 4.6 million.

"We believe that 3D TV will take off, but we also believe that 3D TV viewing will be limited until the technology has progressed sufficiently to remove the viewer's need to wear glasses - which we estimate will be beyond our forecast period," said the report's author, Simon Murray.

"Other limiting factors for 3D TV in the home include a lack of content, high production costs, scarcity of channels, bandwidth constraints and the high cost of 3D sets."

And there is a pretty major lack of content, according to Neil Dodgson, senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge's computer lab.

"There's 50 3D movies out there, and that's 150 hours. I've heard some broadcasters plan to screen 80 live events next year, so that's another 240 hours," he says.

"We do need more 3D content. And we have to make good 3D - consumers have not yet bought into 3D and we have to make sure we don't alienate them. Converting 2D to 3D is like that fad for converting black and white to colour; you can do it, but people don't like the result."

Nevertheless, Informa believes that 3D TV is here to stay.

"3D TV is set to increase in popularity over the next five years due a number of contributing factors - a key reason being the push from content owners, broadcasters and pay TV platforms who are keen to drive adoption as they see this as a potential growth area," says Murray.

"Although the forecast figure seems quite low, the market will still be very immature by 2015, so significant opportunities exist beyond this date."