Consumer uptake of 3D hardware continues apace, with the market on track to achieve 157.7 million 3DTV sales in 2017, up from a forecast of 59.3 million for 2013, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting.
“In 2017, 3DTVs will account for 58% of all TVs sold across the globe, rising from 18% last year,” says Sam Leech, Research Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Growth in the delivery of 3D content to the home is less apparent, with a varying array of broadcaster strategies – some are ending current commitments whereas others continue to increase output. What is clear is that 3D content will become increasingly restricted to premium and on-demand offerings.”
The UK landscape is polarised, with BSkyB reaffirming its commitment and Virgin Media increasing its range of 3D broadcasting, while the BBC has postponed trials, which will conclude by the end of this year and they will make no further 3D programmes for three years. Newly-established BT Sport claims no interest in the technology.
US based ESPN has decided to halt the use of 3D technology for broadcasting, as has Canal Plus. Newscorp-owned Australian Pay-TV operator Foxtel has also recently pulled its dedicated 3D broadcast channel.
“To date, the unique appeal of 3D to the consumer is that it offers greater immersion in content, and it also allows both broadcasters and TV panel manufacturers to charge extra for a premium feature,” says Leech. “This extra dimension of user engagement is now challenged by new technologies that do not require the complications currently involved with accessing 3D content.
“A number of major broadcasters are now diverting investment to other initiatives, such as 4K and multi-screen content delivery. Several broadcasters across all key world regions have run 4K trial shoots of sporting events, though widespread consumer adoption of 4K hardware is several years away, as the TV hardware has yet to drop to a level affordable to the mass market consumer.”
However, the market for 3D cinema remains stable; although screen adoption in developed countries is reaching saturation point, there is still room for growth in emerging markets where 3D has developed a strong following.