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Is 2011 the year of the 3-D TV? Yes, report says

May 31, 2011 |  5:08 pm

Television makers are betting that 2011 will be the year of the 3-D TV.

Despite lackluster sales and slow consumer adoption, research firm DisplaySearch optimistically predicted that 3-D sets would comprise about 12% of the overall market for LCD panels by year-end.

That number is partly based on growth thus far: About 1.9 million LCD panels with 3-D capability -- or 3.9% of the overall LCD television market -- shipped in the first three months of the year, DisplaySearch said Tuesday.

That's not a huge chunk of the TV market, but still an improvement over last year, when only 1.6% panels shipped were equipped to be viewed in the third dimension.

When 3-D TVs began rolling out last year amid much hype, television makers hailed them as the hottest advancement since high definition, and the industry expected consumers to eagerly snatch them up.

That never came to pass. Battered by the recession, consumers were put off by high prices and the need to sport glasses to see anything broadcast in 3-D.

Part of the recent upswing in sales, however slight, is a result of price reductions and improvements in the look, comfort and quality of the glasses, DisplaySearch said.

More challenges lay ahead, "such as inadequate 3-D content, the presence of flicker or crosstalk that can cause dizziness ... and confusion about different 3-D technologies," said David Hsieh, vice president of the greater China market for DisplaySearch.

However, Hsieh said, "LCD panel makers have aggressive plans to expand 3-D LCD TV panel shipments this year, as they believe 2011 will be the year that 3-D TV’s potential is realized."

Previous predictions for 3-D sales have always taken a glasses-half-full outlook despite a slow year for the technology. DisplaySearch is no different. By early next year, the company predicts, almost 21% of LCD panels will be 3-D-enabled.


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-- Shan Li

Photo: South Korean children studying Buddhism wear glasses to watch 3-D TV as they visit an IT exhibition hall in Seoul on May 9. Credit: Jung Yeon-Je /AFP/Getty Images