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20% of TVs to ship in 2015 will be 3D, says analyst

We say almost all of them will

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Global shipments of 3D TVs will top 50 million units in 2015, market watcher ABI Research said today.

We say it'll be a darn sight more than that - probably in the order of 200 million.

No, we haven't been mysteriously converted to the 3D cause - quite the reverse.

Reg Hardware is sceptical about 3D TV because we sense no real consumer demand for it. Some punters are impressed by the technology, but the vast majority of this group don't feel sufficiently enthused to buy a brand new telly on the back of it.

Like other consumers, it's not that long since they bought their most recent - typically their first - flat-panel TV, and it's just too early to upgrade.

Some are looking to upgrade, but the driving forces for them are the arrival of terrestrially broadcast free-to-air service Freeview HD and internet connectivity.

All of which leaves the consumer electronics business, so keen as it is on 3D, with a problem, but one that's easy to solve.

Enforced upgrades

How do you get people who don't want 3D TVs to buy 3D TVs? You put the technology into every set you sell. Vendors have been so far happy enough targeting early adopters, buyers who equip themselves with the latest tech no matter what it costs. 3D TVs have been expensive as a result.

But there's little difference between a 2D TV and a 3D model, certainly not enough to justify the huge premiums the latter have commanded.

There is a cost increment involved in making a 3D TV but it's small and so we believe 3D will soon be a standard part of almost every TV that's sold. Maybe not next year, possibly not even in 2012, but certainly within five years' time.

TV shipment forecasts vary, but you're looking at around 250-270 million units in 2015. Most, but not all, of those will have 3D built in, or be ready to drive the transmitter that synchronises screen and specs - an even easier-to-choose option for the vendors.

Over the last five years or so, it's been nigh-on impossible to buy a new CRT TV if your old one packed in, or you fancied a larger display. That meant you had to buy an LCD or plasma, no matter whether you wanted one or not. Five years or less from now, you'll have as little choice about 3D. ®

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