3D stats point to increasing mainstreaming of 3D in the living room

Michelle Clancy | 06-10-2012

The International 3D Society and 3D@Home forecasts that more than 40 3D features will be released in 2013, with 60 million 3DTVs to be sold per year in the U.S. by 2016.

"For a young digital technology and art form, 3D has captured significant revenue and the 3D worldwide infrastructure is steadily building," said Jim Chabin, president of the organisation.

The Consumer Electronics Association projects 2012 U.S. unit sales of 5.5 million 3DTVs--more than double 2011 sales of 2.7 million units. The CEA data also predicts 8.7 million 3DTVs will be sold in 2013 in the U.S. NPD Group forecasts more than 200 million units in the worldwide marketplace by 2019.

"Movie fans are already very excited about 'The Hobbit,' 'The Great Gatsby,' and 'Jurassic Park,'" added Chabin. "Eight of the top 10 box office movies of all time have been either released in 3D or re-released in 3D. With an estimated 35,000+ 3D screens worldwide, we now have the infrastructure to show those movies to fans everywhere. Consumer enthusiasm for 3D in China, Russia, and Latin America bodes well for the industry's future growth."

There are 40 networks now programming 3D content worldwide, and 10 new ones planned in China alone, Chabin notes. "We are actively producing more and more 3D programming for the viewer," he said. "Consumers can expect -- and should insist -- that their next television have 3D capability so they can enjoy this programming."

Other stats that the International 3D Society noted include the fact that two-year-old 3net -- a joint venture of Discovery, Sony and IMAX -- has assembled the largest made-for-TV library of native original 3D programming in the world, and airs 24-hours a day. More than 5 million Nintendo 3DS game devices have been sold in the US alone, as of July 2012. YouTube3D now offers 20,000+ 3D videos, and NASA's Mars Rover 'Curiosity' carries two 3D cameras.

ESPN 3D -- also a 24-hour network is airing live college football games every Saturday this fall, and will broadcast the BCS College Championship game in January. ESPN's lineup also includes college basketball games, the ACC tournament, the Winter X Games from Aspen Colorado, and the Summer X Games from Los Angeles. This year also saw the first broadcast of the Summer Olympics in 3D, on NBC's 3D channel.

"3D-viewers were able to immerse themselves in the action much more because of the 'front-row' seat that 3D viewing provides," Chabin said. "Anticipation is high for the next 3D broadcast of the Olympics, the 2014 Winter Games."

Also, 3D video on demand (VID) and 3D cable services are available from Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV, Verizon Fios, Bright House, Cablevision and Google Fiber, while advertisers have created 3D commercials for General Motors, AT&T, BMW, Coca-Cola, Sony, Mars, Best Buy, a variety of motion picture studios and others. And, more than 200 3D Blu-Ray disc titles are now available in 3D, the organisation found.

"Blockbuster movies and educational documentaries are going to increasingly be made available on Blu-Ray," Chabin said. "In addition, laptops, handheld devices, game consoles and streaming services will make 3D content more available to consumers everywhere.