How Rosy Does 3DTV Look Now?

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Time Warner Cable also is planning to carry HGTV’s first 3D telecast of the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, along with DirecTV (see DirecTV Will Float HGTV’s Rose Parade In 3D). Comcast says it’s “in talks” with Scripps about offering the 3D rose spectacle.

But the fact that such 3D programming isn’t widely available points to the problem the nascent category still has in getting off the ground.

People aren’t buying 3DTVs in part because there’s not much to watch in 3D and also because the glasses are awkward. And in the U.S. specifically, 3DTVs are the top-of-the-line models that include Internet connectivity and other pricier features, says Paul Gagnon, NPD DisplaySearch’s director of North America TV research.

In the first nine months of 2011, only 2.4 million 3DTVs shipped in North America — just 8.5% of the 28.1 million total TV units sold in the period, according to DisplaySearch. That’s lower than 3DTV penetration in Europe and Asia, where 3D is a feature on TVs with lower price points, Gagnon says.

In 2012, Gagnon expects TV makers to introduce more entry-level 3D sets in North America, which should boost segment sales. “That will help proliferation of 3D sets,” he says.


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