Blu-ray 3D, more TV models boosting 3D TV shipments

A DisplaySearch analyst says more 3D TV models will ship later this year

3D TV shipments are on the rise with the availability of more TV models and increasing movie and sports content in 3D, research firm DisplaySearch said on Wednesday.

3D TV shipments could reach 3.4 million this year, a sharp increase from the 214,000 units that shipped last year, said Paul Gray, director of European TV research at DisplaySearch.

Hollywood is generating more 3D movies, which are being released on Blu-ray 3D discs, Gray said. That has led to increased interest in 3D TVs, Gray said.

"The formation of a 3D Blu-ray specification at the end of 2009 gave confidence that 3D was a consumer format and not just for movie theaters," Gray said. Consumer electronics companies such as Samsung and Sony have released Blu-ray 3D movie players.

The broadcast of sports events such as the FIFA World Cup in 3D is also creating interest in 3D TVs, Gray said.

And 3D gaming is also available now. Microsoft in June introduced the Kinect gaming kit, which allows users to play 3D games using the Xbox 360.

But only a few companies such as Panasonic and Samsung have rolled out 3D flat-panel TVs. More models will be launched later this year, which should also drive adoption, Gray said. New models are expected to launch at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Sept. 3-8.

The prices of 3D TVs have also been falling. Samsung announced a new lineup of 3D TVs in March, with a basic 40-inch LCD UN40C7000 model priced at US$1,999. The same TV is now available on Amazon.com for $1,499.98 (the price is listed only during checkout) and on B&H Photo and Video's website for $1,699.

Looking into the future, DisplaySearch predicted that 3D TV shipments will reach around 42.9 million units in 2014. For now, consumers have to wear a separate pair of glasses to watch 3D TVs, but companies such as Samsung are researching 3D TVs that do not require glasses.

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