LCD is expected to remain the dominant display technology for 3D TV sets sold in 2011, according to the latest forecast from market research firm iSuppli. Even though plasma is dwarfed by comparison in terms of 3DTV market share, 3D penetration ratio among plasmas (i.e. the proportion of plasma televisions equipped with tri-dimensional capabilities) is higher than the corresponding figure for LCDs, probably because it is the one feature that plasma TV manufacturers are counting on to drive sales.
3D LCD televisions will make up 83% of the market, with a large chunk of the remainder accounted for by plasma-based 3D sets, iSuppli said. Global shipments of 3D TV displays are projected to soar 463% from 4.2 million units in 2010 to hit 23.4 million units this year. The market research company expects more healthy growth in 3DTV sales next year, with a rise of 132% to reach 54.2 million units. By 2014, the all-important 100-million-unit barrier will be surpassed, and in 2015 159.2 million units of 3D television sets will be shipped.
iSuppli attributes the strong growth in sales of extra-dimensional TVs to a strategic shift in marketing and promotional tactics among TV makers and retailers, as well as declining prices and greater availability of 3D content. After witnessing sluggish pickup of 3D-at-home technology in 2010, this year TV brands are positioning 3D as a desirable characteristic for the purpose of futureproofing, instead of as a must-have feature. From what we have seen thus far, manufacturers are increasingly reserving their most advanced technologies for top-end 3D-capable models, in effect forcing consumers to go for 3D sets even if all they want is to get the best 2D picture quality.
In line with the optimistic projection in shipment growth, 3D TV is expected to account for 11% of the worldwide flat-screen television market this year (up from 2% in 2010). Next year, the figure will double to 22%, and continue to increase to eventually make up more than half (52%) of global flat-panel shipments by 2015.