Expect a 3D TV in your living room and the living rooms of everyone you know very soon, as shipments of the tellies are expected to reach 3.4 million units this year alone and will jump to 42.9 million units in 2014, according to the latest Quarterly TV Design and Features Report by DisplaySearch.
Market penetration for 3D TVs is expected to be around five percent in 2010, but DisplaySearch forecasts that it may grow to as much as 37 percent by 2014, suggesting that nearly two in five of us will be donning the goggles to immerse ourselves in a world of things flying out of the screen.
“TV manufacturers have managed to launch products very rapidly,” said Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics Research at DisplaySearch. “We have seen a full range of 3D TVs in sizes from 40-inches to 63-inches already available, and without a doubt, there will be another wave of new products at the IFA show in Berlin in September.”
The US market, however, is a little behind, with only two manufacturers, Panasonic and Samsung, launching 3D TVs there. DisplaySearch expects the adoption of such products to take a slower pace than that of LED LCD TVs in 2009, with a forecasted shipment of around two million 3D TV units in the region this year.
The problem is that while people are interested in buying 3D TVs, there isn’t enough actual 3D content out there to watch on them. Only a tiny amount of movies are available or will be available soon, and even Avatar, which started the renewed 3D craze last year, won’t be available for 3D TVs this year. The slow adoption of HD and Blu-ray is also cited as an obstacle to the growth of the medium.
Gray said that there are still a number of other problems that need to be resolved if 3D is to gain any real momentum. There is a very negative view of 3D glasses, for example, which means a 3D TV that does not employ them is needed. 3D TVs are also extremely power-hungry, raising questions about energy efficiency and their effect on the environment.
Gray said that research needs to focus on this issue to avoid the potential of returning to the days when TVs consumed vast amounts of energy, which is something that won’t sit well with a world growing more aware of the need to cut energy usage.