Seven in eight 3D TV buyers ‘won’t see 3D shows this year’

3D TV sounds like an interesting gimmick, but I’d be more impressed if the TV industry would just focus on producing more watchable programs …

Audience figures likely to lag behind early rush to buy 3D-ready televisions, analysts predict

More than 800,000 households will have bought a 3D-ready television before the end of this year, but fewer than one in eight will actually be watching 3D programmes on it, a new report predicts.

This year has been predicted to have a “3D summer” as consumers flock to buy 3D TV sets following the hype surrounding the hit film Avatar and the promise of viewing sport such as football via the new technology from BSkyB. But the report from Informa Telecoms and Media forecasts that while 845,000 households worldwide are likely to have 3D TV-ready sets by the end of the year, just 101,000 homes will be watching 3D shows.

By the end of 2015, 3D-ready sets will have reached 70m households, some 5.1% of all homes that have a television. But once again a huge number – up to 68% or 48m – will not actually be watching 3D TV shows on them. Just over 30%, or 22.2m homes, will be watching 3D TV shows.

The report lists a number of factors contributing to the gap, including a significant number of viewers not realising that they must also have the right set top box and/or subscription package.

A similar issue plagued the surge of interest at the arrival of high-definition TV in time for the 2006 World Cup, with many viewers not realising they needed the right equipment to receive it. Simon Murray, the analyst behind the report, said that this was not likely to be a major issue with 3D TV as it was instantly obvious when the programming is not multi-dimensional.

Other factors include consumers buying TV sets more for 3D DVDs or playing games in 3D than an interest in television shows.

The report says that while just 22.2m TV households globally, some 1.6% of all homes with televisions, will be watching 3D programmes by the end of 2015 the market will still be immature at that point, with “significant growth opportunities” to come.

Issues with the cost of 3D TV sets, lack of and cost of production should start to be alleviated with the promise of massive events, such as the London 2012 Olympics, set to be a sales showcase for the technology.

By the end of the year the number of homes watching 3D TV programming globally will be 101,000. Of those 60,000 will be in North America with just 22,000 in Western Europe.

By the end of 2015 6.8m of the 22.2m households worldwide that will be watching shows in 3D will be from Western Europe. The UK is expected to have 1.6m 3d TV households by the end of 2015. North America will have 9.2m homes with Asia Pacific at 4.6m.

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