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CEA survey reveals 3D is picking up speed; not flying yet

Nearly one in five US consumers have already experienced 3DTV firsthand, at home, at a retail store or at the home of a friend or family member, according to results of an online survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, released by Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s Chief Economist & Director of Research at the recent ESCA2010 conference in London.

A large number of individuals remain undecided on the timing of their 3DTV purchase. Roughly 25% expect to own a 3DTV within 3 years – representing some 28 million TV sets in the US.

Given that 3DTV (in HD) is often described as the ultimate visual experience, some conference participants were surprised the research showed that “only” 46% of respondents who have seen 3D content on a 3DTV rate the visual experience as “excellent.”

Some 65% of those planning to buy a 3DTV within 3 years agree watching 3D movies at home is the primary motivation for the purchase. Of the 36% of adults who consider themselves “above average” sports fans, roughly a third plan to buy a 3DTV within 3 years. Thirty-five percent of casual gamers and 64% of self-defined “avid gamers” expressed enthusiasm for 3D gaming.

When it come to selling the 3DTV proposition to the consumer, nearly 70% of the sales assistant fell they are “well trained to sell 3D. Ten percent think they are not and 20% are unsure. Given the complexity of 3D technology, especially as it involves battery-operated glasses which may not necessarily “communicate” with specific TV brands, there was surprise at the perceived over-confidence of the retail sales force. The experience selling Blu-ray was (still is) not smooth sailing.

On average, sales assistants think roughly half of consumers are still confused about 3D. Nearly 80% of sales assistants think sales of 3D technologies will not be strong until more 3D content is available.

A third of Blu-ray players currently sold in the US are already 3D-enabled BD players. The CEA forecasts that 17% of total 2010 Blu-ray player volume would be of 3D-capable. Three percent of TVs are 3D TVs and 80,000 units a month are shipping – a figure that should double in Q4.

These numbers are the same in Europe, where 150,000 3D TVs were sold from January to July, according to the CEA. Another 140,000 units were sold elsewhere in the world.

Story filed 22.10.10

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