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Near-term adoption of 3-D TVs by consumers likely depends on bundling with HDTVs, says research group

The bundling of 3-D capability with HD televisions — not the availability of 3-D content — may likely turn out to be the most important factor behind driving near-term 3-D adoption among consumers, according to the findings of a Frank N. Magid Associates study released in late November.

The research organization found no change since late 2009 in the proportion of consumers who feel it is important that there is more 3-D content. Thus, for 3-D adoption to grow, it appears that bundling 3-D with HD sets is a more likely strategy to grow 3-D adoption in the near term, according to Magid.

The Magid study, “2010: The New Age of Video Entertainment," found 8 percent of consumers say they “are very likely” to buy a 3-D television set within the next 12 months. That figure is strikingly similar to the 8 percent to 10 percent who said they were likely to buy HDTVs in the early days of HD adoption. For HD, annual adoption grew at only 4 percent to 5 percent. A repeat of this pattern in consumer behavior would translate into about 5 percent of households with 3-D televisions by the fall 2011, the research firm said.

The study, an annual look at the video consumption habits of consumers and the platforms they choose, also explored consumer attitudes and behavior toward the use of alternative video view platforms, such as streaming video, mobile video, playback from set-top boxes and video on demand.

The study revealed that although there is increased use of alternative platforms, most consumers plan to maintain their subscriptions to pay-TV services from cable, satellite and telco television services. The research found consumers who make the greatest use of these alternative platforms also spend the most money on traditional TV subscription services. As a result, Magid concluded, alternative platforms should be seen as additive to TV subscriptions, not as a threat.

The Magid research also revealed 45 percent of consumers watch television shows and movies online with a laptop or workstation computer at least occasionally. Of those who do not, 10 percent said they were interested in doing so. When devices that deliver Internet-streaming content to TV screens are added to the mix, interest among consumers surges.

To collect the data, Magid conducted an online survey in October 2010 using a nationally representative sample of 1208 adults age 12 years or older.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.