Forecast: 3D Revenues to Reach $22 Billion by 2018

While Sony and other CE makers seem convinced that 3D in the home is inevitable in the years ahead, at least one major industry analyst is adding fuel to that fire in its latest data projections. DisplaySearch forecasts that the total "stereoscopic 3D display market" will grow from a mere $902 million in revenues to an estimated 196 million units and $22 billion in revenues in 2018.

That apparently leaves enough lead-time for TV consumers who already recently upgraded to HD to upgrade to 3D HD in the next 7-8 years.

DisplaySearch, based in Austin, Texas, said the market for 3D TV displays in America has been "encouraged" by the recent success of 3D cinema (notably "Avatar" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs") and is forecasting the 3DTV market to begin to take off here in 2010.

Beyond the increasing availability of 3D content for consumers, the researcher said adding to the emerging technology's chances for success are the 3D standardization processes underway for various other new technologies such as Blu-ray Disc. (There is no ATSC broadcast standard yet for 3D, but SMPTE is working on one.)

Meanwhile, there are no tangible indications yet of exactly how popular 3D sets will be with consumers in a struggling economy — especially since to start with, they will be noticeably higher-priced than HD LCD and plasma panels, which have fallen dramatically in price points in the past year.