Published: 16.26 Europe/London, April 6, 2011

MIPTV 2011 – CANNES. Optimism prevailed at the conference sessions on 3D developments, that attracted full houses.

Sony’s Akira Shimazu, senior general manager 3D project management division, said the company will introduce 3D home imaging products such as handheld handycams and casual imaging products such as its cybershot cameras. The company will also offer 3D products, both games and VOD movies, via PlayStationNetwork and the Quriocity VOD portal. There are currently 17 3D titles available on the network and 12 on the VOD portal.

Shimazu was also upbeat about sales of 3D TV sets with sharp increase in set sales in both the US and Europe. Sony also plans to release a 3D free firmware upgrade to make all PlayStation 3 consoles fit for playing 3D games as well as playing back 3D Blu-ray discs. He expects that this year there will be about 100 3D Blu-ray titles available as well as 35 3D games.

But there still is not enough 3D content, with three 3D channels in the US, Sky Perfect 3D in Japan and incidental 3D programming in Europe.

Vincent Teulade, director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was also optimistic. “When we said three years ago that 3D would be a success, people criticised us. But 3D has arrived, it is known by the mass market. And for movies, between 50 – 70% of the income is generated by 3D.”

Last year, 11 out of the top 20 movies were available in 3D, while three years ago there was just one single 3D title. “This is a strong demonstration that 3D movies are big commercial success.” But there is a limit to the premium people are willing to pay for seeing a 3D version of the movie.

Equipment is not the issue, according to Teulade, people are buying 3D sets in large numbers. “People don’t buy 3D, they buy future-proof – they want connected TV etc.” The availability of content, however, is an issue. “There is a content gap – there is not enough programming for a 24-hour linear channel. And what is the business case? A lot of TV executives are wondering if 3D is best for linear or for VOD.”

YoungSu Oh, director convergence bureau Korean Communications Commission, said he expects the Korean people to buy 3D sets in large numbers when the country switches off analogue broadcasts in 2012.