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3D TV will won't go primetime in 2011

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One analyst’s recent claim that sales of 3D TVs will truly take off during 2011 is far-fetched, a rival market watcher has claimed.

Claudio Aspesi, an researcher at US investment firm Sanford Bernstein, this week forecast: "The beginnings of broad 3D TV adoption in Europe could take place as early as 2011," according to a report by The Independent newspaper.

But Paul Gray, Director of European TV research at market research company DisplaySearch, today laughed off the suggestion that 3D TV will be a mass-market product within two years.

“If you think that we’ll go to 3D in Europe at or before the same time we go to HD, you’re mistaken,” he told Register Hardware.

Telly manufacturers Mitsubishi and LG have already produced 3D-capable sets, while broadcasters, such as Sky, are currently investing time and money in 3D TV content R&D. So what’s holding back the technology's roll-out?

Market watcher Screen Digest has previously said that the percentage of TVs sold worldwide with 3D capability will only exceed ten per cent by 2011 if a “unifying standard” emerges to ensure that 3D works across all display technologies.

Gray agrees. He said that a whole gamut of 3D TV and related standards have yet to be defined. These range from how 3D content will be encoded to how it will be distributed.

Content availability is another limiting factor, Gray said. Sky has already admitted that a lack of suitable content is the main factor preventing it from launching a commercial 3D TV offering.

Gaming will be the “killer content” for 3D, Gray believes, because gamers will be the ones willing to pay the extra for a 3D TV. Gamers will also demand that console manufacturers step up to the plate with the firmware and hardware updates necessary to make, say, a 3D Xbox 360 gaming experience an off-the-shelf reality.

If this happens then Gray also sees no reason why consoles couldn’t be used as a way of getting 3D films into homes.

The final piece of the puzzle is picture quality, Gray said, and this requires content producers and TV manufacturers to work together to ensure that 3D pictures are of the same quality as HD movies and broadcasts. ®

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