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Awareness of 3DTVs, Blu-ray players grows, according to NPD, BDA

Within six months, consumers awareness levels of 3D TVs and Blu-ray players has grown significantly, according to market research company The NPD Group's 'February 3D 360º Monitor.'

Consumers aware of 3D LCD TVs went from 28% in September 2010 to 36% in February 2011. 3D plasma TV awareness jumped from 21% to 32%, and 3D Blu-ray players went from 15% to 26%.

With awareness of the technology also comes awareness of some of the inhibitors to making the switch to 3D. Two of the major pain points for consumers are still the price of the TV and the need to wear glasses. According to the report, price and glasses are becoming more of an issue for a greater percentage of consumers.

"Concerns about price and an aversion to 3D glasses both saw relative increases as inhibitors to adopting 3D televisions," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. "However, as prices and price premiums for 3D TV decline, glasses are becoming a more prominent inhibitor, and are poised to overtake price."

The price gap between 2D and 3D TVs, while still significant, has come down considerably in the past year (see table).

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service

There are some obstacles the industry is working to overcome. For example, the percentage of consumers citing a lack of content as an inhibitor decreased slightly from the monitor's first wave to the second wave. Sixty-eight percent of consumers interested in 3D TV identified Blu-ray movies as far and away the most popular type of content they were looking forward to using with their TVs, with slightly less than 40% expressing interest in sports and cable or satellite programming.

"Both movies and sports were important content drivers in the HD transition," said Rubin. "However, while feature films provided a large library of content that could be readily converted to HD, there wasn't packaged media that delivered on the promise of the entertainment experience as Blu-ray now provides for 3D."

Nearly 2,000 respondents from NPD's online panel completed the second wave of this February survey.

In separate developments, a compilation of the latest data and forecasts from leading analysts, put together by the Bu-ray Disc Association, points to the fact that the growth in Blu-ray hardware and new content continues to demonstrate strong momentum into 2011.

- According to IHS Screen Digest, household penetration of dedicated Blu-ray set-top players nearly doubled as compared to the first quarter of 2010. Similarly, software unit sales in Q1 2011 increased by over 26% from last year's first quarter according to IHS Screen Digest’s analysis of Nielsen VideoScan data.

- FutureSource forecasts wider Blu-ray Disc sales growth in 2011 on the strength of hardware penetration - estimating nearly 50 million Blu-ray playback devices in US homes by year's end with Blu-ray Disc sales exceeding 120 million units, up from 85 million sold in 2010.

- The NPD Group reported April 18 that consumers are spending more on the purchase and rental of Blu-ray Disc and DVD packaged media – more than all digital options combined – with 78% of their home video budgets spent on BD and DVD, and the remaining 22% on subscription services such as Netflix and other download and streaming options.

- IHS Screen Digest estimates that consumer spending on 3D Blu-ray Discs (BD3D) in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany and France will grow 533% in 2011, as compared to 2010.

- Comparing the first nine months of 3D TV sales to the first full year of HDTV sales, HIS Screen Digest noted that 3D TV adoption is outpacing HDTV adoption by 50%.

FutureSource projects that by 2015, 3D TVs will be in more than 60% of US households and 3D Blu-ray players will be in more than 75% of US households.

Story filed 01.05.11

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