3D glasses will cost you a fortune

While Europeans are expected to buy 700,000 stereo 3DTVs this year, the question of what kind of glasses you wear and how much they cost remains unresolved.

Those figures come from Meko, a UK market research company that predicts 3.8 million sets will be sold in 2011 and 8.1 million in 2012.

Goksen Sertler, senior analyst for Meko, told TechEye that while there is a lot of excitement about 3D, only two percent of TVs in Western Europe sold this year will be S3D equipped. “The sets will be made available in just the larger sizes – over 32-inches – will be in the premium model ranges and will not be sold through all channels,” she said.

And, said Sertler, standardisation for 3D specs is important to gain end user confidence – she said people wanted to ensure the spectacles work with every brand.

Right now, and by and large, they don’t, she said, with additional glasses costing around $110 a pair and containing proprietary electronics that communicate with the TV. That means that if you’ve a large family you can expect to lash out several hundred dollars just so you can all watch the telly.

There are two main types of stereoscopic glasses – the active shutter type which communicate with the TV and tell it which eye is working. That, she said is expensive. The passive system used by LG is very cheap, with materials costing only around $10.

She agreed that the prices of the active shutter glasses were ridiculously expensive, but said that a company called Xpand was working to produce a system that would work with all the different types of sets.

Meko predicts that there will be lots of content from Blu-ray and from TV stations, but European buyers will want to go for smaller sets than Americans, with 40-inch and 42-inch sets with FullHD resolution to be the best sellers. “Customers will also be looking for high quality sets that  have other features that will keep costs up, such as LED backlighting.”

*EyeSee Meko will be hosting the 7th Displayforum event at the Heathrow Hilton on the 3rd of November on the subject of 3DTV in Europe.