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‘Unifying standard’ vital for mass-market 3D TV

Gamers, not movie fans, to lead the way

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The percentage of TVs sold worldwide with 3D capability will exceed ten per cent by 2011, market watcher Screen Digest has stated.

But the firm stressed that this will only happen if a “unifying standard” emerges to ensure that 3D works across all display technologies.

If such a standard emerges, Screen Digest said it is confident that 3D sets will account for 16 per cent of global TV sales – which it’s pegged at roughly 2.8bn units – by 2015.

If not, the percentage of 3D sets sold each year by 2015 will rise to only three per cent of global sales – roughly 500m units — SD said.

Last year saw seven 3D films debut in cinemas, according to Screen Digest’s figures, while 17 will hit the big screen this year and 28 in 2010. But the analyst stressed that videogames will probably be the entry point into the home for 3D technology because “gaming is an early adopter market”.

Sony has already shown that 3D gaming is possible. It demoed several PlayStation 3 games in 3D at Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

At the same event, Panasonic called on the consumer electronics industry and join it in the development of a 3D standard for 1080p TVs.

Whatever the outcome, 3D TV will probably still remain the reserve of subscribers, thanks to the higher bandwidth required for 3D transmissions and the incremental production costs.

It’s worth noting that some broadcasters have already begun investing time and funds into 3D TV, most notably Sky. Last year, it claimed to have successfully demonstrated the technology in its London HQ, but told Register Hardware recently that availability of content, rather than just the cost, is what’s holding back launch of a commercial Sky 3D TV service. ®

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