U.S. 3DTV Shipments Reach 655,000 Through September

WASHINGTON: A total of 655,000 3DTV sets shipped in the United States through September, according to figures from the Consumer Electronics Association. That leaves just three months to ship half again as many sets to bring the total to 1.05 million, the CEA’s forecast for the year. But that’s entirely realistic, a spokeswoman said. The majority of TV sets traditionally sell in the fourth quarter as the holidays approach.

“We could potentially see as many sold in the fourth quarter as we have seen year-to-date,” she said.

Forecasts for 3DTV adoption have varied, but one thing pretty much agreed-upon is that there aren’t that many sets in homes. The first 3DTVs hit the market just eight months ago, and require the use of shutter glasses to view 3D content. The glasses, along with the early premium price points, have put people off of the first wave of 3DTVs. A full 65 percent of people in a recent Zagat survey said they had no interest in adopting 3D for the home.

None of which is dissuading ESPN, however. The sports franchise launched the first 24/7 3D channel in June, and created its own viewer pool to get audience feedback.

“3D is a very nascent technology,” said ESPN’s Artie Bulgren. “It’s hard to find where these users are.” Consequently, ESPN invited participants into the Disney Media and Ad Lab in Austin, Texas, during the 2010 World Cup to watch the games in 3D. (See, “ESPN Finds 3D Increases Viewer Engagement.”)

ESPN is also scheduling with an eye toward increased set sales during the fourth quarter.

“By then end of this month, will have produced a dozen college basketball games” in 3D, said ESPN’s Bryan Burns. “We know a majority of TV sets are sold this time of year. That’s not lost on us.”
- Deborah D. McAdams