3DTV will again be one of the hot topics at this year’s IBC in Amsterdam. Unlike previous years, however, discussions and demonstrations will take place against the background of broadcasters delivering commercial 3D services to residential TV viewers. Since earlier this year 3D television programmes have been broadcast, if only on a selective basis, to viewers of some cable, satellite and IPTV services in the US and Europe. But as sales of 3D-capable TVs begin to take off, Sky’s UK launch of the first full-time 3DTV channel on October 1st will confirm the arrival of 3DTV as a fully fledged consumer proposition.
But compared to the excessive hype which has built up over the last couple of years as the industry geared up for launch, the mood this year may appear to be markedly more realistic, and tinged with more notes of caution than were previously evident. It’s still too early to discuss consumer reaction to fully fledged home 3DTV services (as opposed to any of the out-of-home options) – the number of people who have actually seen a 3DTV broadcast in the comfort of their own homes is still tiny. But pre-launch surveys are suggesting 3D in general may not become the sure-fire success many were hoping for.
Strategy Analytics’ own consumer surveys suggest a very mixed response across the board. Our survey of European consumers is still in the field, but the first results from the US suggest that the industry must at least overcome doubts about the health impact of watching 3DTV. More than half of respondents are unsure whether watching 3DTV can cause damage to the eyes, and 17% actually believe that 3DTV may cause damage. With the level of uncertainty the industry clearly has a lot of work to do to bring 3DTV to the mass market.
Overall we found that 11% of people are somewhat or very likely to buy a 3DTV during the coming year. This may not sound a lot but it’s not bad for a newly launched technology. What’s interesting is the impact of previous 3D experiences on buying intentions. In total 60% of Americans say they have seen a 3D movie at the cinema, and a quarter say they have been very impressed with the quality of the 3D experience. Those people are four times more likely to buy a 3DTV than people who say they were not impressed with 3D at the cinema. This may not be surprising, but it demonstrates the importance to the industry of continuing to improve the 3D experience in the cinema in order to meet its overall goal of bringing 3D to the home viewer.
We’ll be presenting many more findings from our research at our free-to-attend analyst forum during this year’s IBC, and Sky’s Brian Lenz, who has headed up the company’s 3D initiative, will be giving the audience his thoughts on our findings as well as an update on Sky’s 3D launch plans. Attendees are invited to register in advance by visiting www.strategyanalytics.com/ibc2010.html.
Meet Our Analysts: 3DTV Analyst Forum at IBC 2010