Hold that scepticism about 3D: after a welter of negative research, Futuresource Consulting is predicting that by 2015 nearly 40% of Western European homes will have a 3DTV set.

However, it should be noted that just as you can take a horse to water and not make it drink, the analyst cautions that it will not necessarily follow that owners will use the 3D capability embedded within their sets. It will be the challenge for operators and service suppliers to make such services compelling through 3D content that has mainstream appeal.

At the heart of this expected uptake of 3D, says the analyst, is the trend that over the last three years or so screens measuring 42 inches and above have become affordable for the average household. This says Futuresource has attracted a groundswell of consumer demand for larger sized panels, and has led to CE manufacturers introducing new technologies and features into the marketplace such as connected TV capability and indeed 3D.

Predicting what would be the result of this affordability, Jim Bottoms, Director and Co-Founder of Futuresource Consulting, said: "Nearly 40% of homes in Western Europe will own a 3D TV by 2015, which equates to an installed base of nearly 65 million. Whether consumers use the feature or not, they will be buying it by default, as the technology will increasingly be incorporated in many of the sets in manufacturers' product ranges. And where previously there was little 3D content available, the growth and acceptance of 3D is now being driven by the broadcasters. Going forward, the increased availability of 3D content will encourage viewers to engage with and evaluate 3D offerings."

Futuresource believes that over the last twelve months, the number of broadcasters across the planet that are planning 3D content has grown almost threefold. Added Bottoms: “Although there was little 3D content available on Blu-ray last year, this is definitely being addressed this year, with 43 BD titles now available in the US, 37 in the UK and 30 in Germany. And it isn't just about Hollywood content either, with nature and special interest titles being released - in the US, 33% of titles released so far are non-Hollywood content, which is adding to the diversity, generating interest and encouraging consumer engagement."