NEW YORK –
For the past three years, most of the buzz
in the TV display industry has emanated from
premium 3D and Internet-connected TV features,
but few technology developments have
generated as much controversy. For the 2011
holiday season, the question is: Will this finally
be the tipping point for these “features”?
The predictions of top market analysts are
“These are tough questions to answer,” said
Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch’s North American
TV market research director. “3D still isn’t a
huge driver of volume, and consumers seem a
little reluctant to pony up for what are still some
substantial premiums. In general, consumer
demand seems focused on mainstream valueoriented
models, not premium featured sets,
including IPTV and 3D.”
DisplaySearch is forecasting about 13 percent
of unit shipments in Q4 will be 3D. Sell-through
levels may or may not follow that rate, depending
on pricing and promotions, Gagnon said.
IPTV-enabled sets, he added, might account
for 25 percent to 30 percent of units, “but a
lot of that depends on a successful launch of
Google TV 2.0,” he added.
Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research principal, said she believes
sales of 3D and IPTV sets will pick up this season,
primarily because consumers will be getting the capabilities
in many new TVs, whether wanted or not.
“Both 3D and IPTV/smart TV sales are going to increase
dramatically because those features are already
baked into a large number of manufacturers’ sets, some at
reasonable prices, especially in plasma TV models,” Pratt
observed. “So the question should be rephrased from:
‘Are consumers using these features?’ to ‘How
do we drive more usage?’ ”
Pratt said numbers show that consumers are
using the different movie services with their
connected IPTVs, but there has been little traction
with other applications.
One issue is that other than Google TV, and
that platform’s issues, the browser capabilities
on today’s connected TVs are very restricted.
“This is clearly not what a consumer expects
when sold a TV that can surf the web,” said
Pratt. “Currently tablet sales are sucking up all
the attention, but as manufacturers create platforms/
apps to converge the connected TV and
tablet, we will see real use cases emerge.”
According to Quixel, connected TV sales
are tracking to hit close to 50 percent of the
40-inch-and-larger market in 2011.
“Sales of 3D models (LCD TV, PDP and DLP)
could reach as high as 4 million units this year
depending on how aggressively manufacturers
price them,” Pratt continued. “Similar to many
new technologies, the ecosystem is still not
ripe but we’re getting there. Glasses are getting
lighter and cheaper — sometimes free — and there will
be close to 100 3D movies released this year.
She said that next year “we’ll see 3D movies from directors
like Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and Ridley
Scott, offering real content as opposed to material tailored
mainly to prepubescent males.”
“Just another reason to spend a little extra on an assisted
sales floor,” she quipped.