The story on 3D TV adoption in Europe is the same as it is elsewhere: Slow.
According to retail analysts GfK, only 25,000 3D-enabled televisions were sold through the end of May 2010, Pocket-Lint reports. The number of regular HDTVs sold is not mentioned, but it’s plain to see how small GfK’s estimate runs. Worldwide, 252 million televisions — 2D or 3D — are expected to be sold this year.
Europe isn’t the only place with unimpressive 3D TV sales. Earlier this month, iSuppli reported that 1.8 million 3D televisions were shipped in the first quarter of 2010, or roughly 4 percent of the market, International Business Times reports. Separately, Samsung said in a press release that it expects to sell 600,000 3D TVs in the first six months of the year. At that rate, the company will have some serious catching up to do during the holidays to meets its expected two million shipments by year-end.
The most common criticism of 3D TV so far is the lack of content available. With the exception of Avatar, there hasn’t been a blockbuster movie that makes a strong case for 3D, though there have been plenty of 3D movies in theaters. Even so, iSupply analyst Riddhi Patel told International Business Times that there may be a disconnect between the theater and home experiences, and consumers may not be so interested in 3D on small screens. There are also standards issues — for instance, one television’s 3D glasses do not work with another, and they’re expensive to boot.
Hollywood studios and 3D device manufacturers are making matters worse, locking away 3D content in exclusive hardware bundles.
There’s hope for 3D TV in content tailored specifically for the home. ESPN’s 3D World Cup broadcasts should drive interest, as could the Playstation 3’s support for 3D gaming. But it’s foolish to think that 3D TV will take off before the content does.