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North American Interest in 3DTV Declining, Up in China, Europe

28 Dec, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Consumer appeal of 3D entertainment delivered through the television appears to be waning in North America, while at the same time gaining momentum in China and Western Europe, according to a new report.

While studios will release more than 40 movies theatrically in 3D in 2012 in the United States, NPD Display Research found that 3D penetration as a percentage of TVs shipped dropped to around 7% in the third quarter from more than 10% in the second quarter. At the same time, shipments of 3D-compatible TVs ranged from 17% to 18% in Western Europe and China compared to 15% to 12%, respectively, in the second quarter. 3DTV penetration was also up significantly in Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.

The report found that U.S. consumers flock to discounted big screen TVs with minimal features, while China’s burgeoning middle class covets 3D units with LED backlighting and Internet functionality.

“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,” said Paul Gray, director of TV electronics research, NPD DisplaySearch. “Our report also indicates that North American and Japanese 3D penetration is lower than the Middle East.”

Regardless, overall global interest in 3DTV — spurred by theatrical releases — increased to more than 12% in Q3 from about 8% in the second quarter. In the U.S., 3D’s contribution to the box office doubled to 22% from 11% in 2009, according to RealD.

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