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Report: Web, 3D Not Driving HDTV Sales

8 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lack of 3D content, confusing digital market affecting consumer interest

Theatrical 3D movies and Netflix streaming might be altering consumer entertainment habits, but they’re not driving television sales, according to a new report.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based DisplayResearch found that in consumer surveys, 3D functionality and access to Internet-delivered entertainment in the home included in their TV ranked far behind other factors such as price and screen size. In fact in the survey the two features widely touted by consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers trailed energy-efficient LED backlighting, which also has failed to entice consumption.

Indeed, 3D and Web connectivity fell well below average drivers of HDTV sales in 13 countries, with LED backlighting above average in importance to consumers in urban China and Russia. Only in Indonesia (and India to a lesser extent) do consumers have an above-average interest in 3D capability in new TV purchases, followed by LED.

In the United States, consumer interest in 3DTV is about two-thirds the interest in Web connectivity, with both lagging significantly behind LED backlighting.

Specifically the report found that despite a wide range of Web-enabled devices and strong Internet video consumption growth, a very confusing marketplace and lack of embedded wireless connectivity has led most consumers to view connectivity as a nice feature to have, but not a principle reason to upgrade a TV.

In addition many of the countries that showed a higher level of interest in connected TVs were also emerging economies, so the lack of a strong traditional broadcast infrastructure may actually increase the relative importance of getting video content via the Web and, therefore, make an Internet-connected TV more of a motivating factor to upgrading existing sets, according to the report.

Although 3DTV shipments showed strong growth in 2010, the report suggests consumers aren’t looking to make a new TV upgrade just to get 3D. The study results do indicate that 3D is more important for consumers who already are looking to purchase a new set. Even Japanese consumers, long considered to be early adopters, cited 3D as a relatively unimportant factor when deciding to buy a new TV. More likely, the lack of broadly available 3D content is making 3D not a main reason to upgrade.

“Some of the findings from this study show that newer features are not yet strong drivers of new TV purchases, compared to fundamentals like trading up in size or getting a flat-panel TV,” said Paul Gagnon, director of North America research.


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