Published: 11.37 UTC, March 16, 2011

The early enthusiasm for 3DTV has been tempered in recent months following disappointing display sales. The true path, according to researchers In-Stat, lies somewhere in the middle with an anticipated 100 linear channels in the 3D format available by 2014.

In-Stat is anticipating an increase in 3D production across a variety of genres over the next 12 months. This includes live event production, cinema releases, and documentaries, which In-Stat points out do not suffer from the same doubling if production costs witnessed for other live events.

“Pay-TV providers around the globe who have HD systems in place have jumped on the 3D content being made available to them at a faster rate than many had expected,” says Michelle Abraham, Principal Analyst. “Many took advantage of the World Cup 3D coverage to test transmission of 3D over their networks, and some of them have now launched transmission of regular 3D TV channels. The competitive nature of pay-TV ensures that once one pay-TV distributor in a country is offering 3D, the others need to be fast followers unless they want to lose their top-tier customers.”

In a new report 3D TV Services: It’s a Small World, In-Stat says that pay-TV providers currently experimenting with VOD services will want to move to regularly scheduled channels. This runs counter to another industry argument that suggests linear channels might virtually vanish from TV guides.

In-Stat anticipates that 3D will take on ‘Fast Follower’ status with rival operators introducing the genre once a competitor has launched a service in the market. This is currently being played out in the Nordic region with Canal Digital and Boxer following recent publicity for the Viasat 3DTV offer.