EXCLUSIVE: Futuresource Consulting's latest figures indicate growth in Blu-ray 3D titles could be a significant force in sustaining 3D TV sales writes Adrian Pennington
For an average family there is now little difference between the total cost of ownership between an active and passive glasses 3D TV, but whichever one a consumer chooses, there is no question that given a free choice, they would opt for a glasses-free solution.
That’s the view of Futuresource Consulting whose latest figures and predictions indicate that growth in Blu-ray 3D titles and audience awareness of blockbusters like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Hobbit could be a significant force in sustaining 3D TV sales.
According to the consultancy director, Jim Bottoms, “The additional manufacturing cost of applying a polarising lens to a display panel is offset by the cheaper passive polarised glasses and the ability to use displays with a lower refresh rate [typically 120Hz v. 240Hz for a display used in an active shutter glasses system].
In the early days of 3D TV, the high cost of active shutter glasses was frequently cited as an impediment to widespread adoption, the price normally being in excess of US$100 compared with a few dollars for a passive pair.
However, Futuresource notes that prices have fallen rapidly with entry-level active glasses now available in the US for $20.
“Auto-stereoscopic displays are the Holy Grail in terms of 3D viewing, however there are several elements that must fall into place before these become widely available to consumers,” he says. “Not only must manufacturing costs be reduced to a level where the displays can be sold at a mass-market price point, the sets must also be able to deliver a 3D experience equivalent to, or ideally exceeding, the quality of today’s active shutter 3D displays.”
A steady growth in the number of Blu-ray titles entering the market will help to maintain interest in 3DTV, the latest research suggests.
Futuresource estimates that by the end of 2012 175 titles will be available in the US, and with a further 105 expected to be released in 2013, total title availability will reach close to 300, a mix of blockbusters and indie films as well as niche and documentary releases.
Within Western Europe 3.1 million homes were 3D Blu-ray capable in 2011 [households owing both a 3D TV and either a standalone 3D Blu-ray player or PS3]. By 2016 41% Western European homes will be 3D Blu-ray capable.
In the US last year 4.8 million 3D Blu-ray sales were recorded with a further 3 million units in Western Europe where 3D titles represented 5% of total sales.
Futuresource expects US Blu-ray title sales to reach 11.5 million in 2012, boosted by the increased availability of 3D Blu-ray titles and blockbusters like The Amazing Spider-Man, accounting for 9% of total Blu-ray units. By 2016, 3D Blu-ray is expected to represent 24% of total Blu-ray sales.
Western European sales are forecast to reach 8 million in 2012 and will account for close to 11% of total Blu-ray title sales. By 2016 this share will rise close to 35%.
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