3D TV gains in Europe, China; declines in North America

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 29-12-2011

2011 was supposed to be the year that 3D TV established itself across the all the major markets in the world: new research from NPD DisplaySearch has shown this not to be the case.

In its Quarterly TV Design and Features Report for Q4 2011, NPD DisplaySearch found that consumer behaviour and TV set maker strategies were resulting in widely diverging TV product ranges across the world. For 3D, the most enthusiastic regions were fund to be Western Europe and China, while the mix of 3D in North America actually declined.
”We were surprised to find that 3D appears to be a far more popular feature in China than North America, and the penetration rate was two times higher in the last quarter,” Paul Gray, Director of TV Electronics Research, NPD DisplaySearch explained further. “Our report also indicates that North American and Japanese 3D penetration is lower than the Middle East.”
The report finds that fundamentally consumers in the key North American market favour large, inexpensive TV sets with fewer features, unlike other regions. Rapidly more prosperous Chinese consumers are enthusiastic about richly-featured sets with 3D, LED backlighting and smart TV capabilities.
The report also revealed a theme of simultaneous new technology adoption in digital broadcasting. Whereas developed markets have not only introduced digital terrestrial and largely completed analogue switch-off, a second generation of digital broadcast (DVB-T2) is now being adopted in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The study found that a critical mass of countries have now adopted or committed to DVB-T2 with shipments of appropriately enabled sets expected to grow from 3.4 million in 2011 to 64.7 million units by 2015.
The growing emergence of such standards may be critical for 3D TV devolvement. In October 2011, the DVB Steering Board approved the commercial requirements for a second 3D TV delivery system, the so called ‘Service Compatible’ solution, termed DVB-3DTV 'Phase 2a, which is required by content deliverers so that both 2D and 3D versions of a programme can be broadcast within the same video signal. The net result will be that new 3D TVs and next-generation STBs can receive 3D programmes, while consumers with existing 2D HDTV receivers and set-top boxes can watch the 2D version.