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As close observers of most consumer electronics surveys can attest, "wanting" a certain product or service doesn't always translate into predicting how those products will actually sell in the real world. That great divide separating the wishful thinkers from the buyers was underscored by Futuresource Consulting itself in its latest survey of prospective 3D users.

As the consultancy states, "The good news for the home entertainment industry: 72 percent of Americans surveyed in February want 3D in the home, now. The bad news: only 39 percent are willing to pay for it." While that means barely more than half of those who want it will pay for it, the data also indicate that more than a quarter (28 percent) of those surveyed apparently do not want 3D in the home at all.

Still, Jim Bottoms, managing director of corporate development for Futuresource, sees 3D HD as more than a fad, pointing to "an unparalleled level of cross-industry commitment to 3D. The ingredients for success are definitely falling into place," he said.

While 3D in the home is hardly a guarantee quite yet, Bottoms said one big thing going for 3DTV technology is it will not get bogged down in any lengthy, costly format war like Blu-ray Disc (and VHS tape proponents before them) had to endure in earlier battles (at least not as far as anyone knows right now).

Futuresource projects all large-screen HD sets globally will be 3D-capable by 2015. Bottoms points to the seemingly overnight success of 3D in theaters (notably "Avatar") as a sign that some form of 3D technology also is heading to America's living rooms — a conclusion that some might find debatable for now.

Futuresource Consulting is a British-based consultancy with a Boston office.