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Yanks spend big on 3D

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Americans have already spent more than $55m on 3D TV and Blu-ray kit - despite a dearth of suitably stereoscopic material to play on them.

The total comes from local market watcher NPD, which yesterday said that all the money had been spent during the three months from February, when 3D kit announced at the January Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas began to appear on shop shelves.

Comparative European numbers are hard to come by - it's very early days for the technology, after all - but retail sales tracker GfK has said that some 25,000 3D TVs had been bought over here by the end of May.

To put that in context, GfK expects some 252 million TVs to be sold worldwide, this year.

Assume an average US price of $3000 per set, and that's only 18,333 TVs - less if the average price is higher and you assign more of the spend to Blu-ray products. From that perspective, European buyers appear keener on the technology than their transatlantic counterparts.

Still, the numbers show there is a keen early adopter market in both Europe and the US, even though there's relatively little 3D content available through broadcast channels or pre-recorded media yet.

For that reason, 3D will remain "a premium home entertainment experience" this year, NPD bigwig Ross Rubin noted.

And happy to buy expensive 3D equipment these early adopters may be, there are limits. More consumers surveyed by NPD - some 41 per cent - said the cost of the extra pairs of 3D glasses needed to allow groups of people to watch together was a key barrier to the adoption of 3D than those who said wearing 3D specs made them look silly - ten per cent.

That's in marked contrast to less self-confident Brits. In a recent survey, more than sixty-six per cent of respondents admitted they feel they'll look silly wearing 3D specs at home. ®

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