By the end of this year, more than 50 broadcasters and pay-TV operators will be offering 3-D services to the home, according to a survey from IMS Research.
Consumer electronics manufacturers unsurprisingly retain their enthusiasm for selling 3-D TVs. Viewer enthusiasm for golf, baseball, hockey, football, auto racing and soccer in 3-D thus far is convincing many broadcasters that there's demand for providing at least sports in 3-D.
The success of 3-D feature films is far from assured, and movies are typically a key driver in video trends. But while 3-D is helping to boost studio profits, the ticket sales trends aren't a cause for unmitigated optimism.
For "Avatar," 70 percent of the tickets sold were for 3-D viewings, but that balance has been gradually reversing; only 45 percent of the tickets sold for "Despicable Me" were in 3-D, reported The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Many films scheduled for production are expected to be in 3-D, but some directors are balking at using it. And at least one film slated to be 3-D has scaled back to 2-D.
Nonetheless, theatrical 3-D film releases will keep coming. IMS Research says that production of 3-D content specifically for home consumption will similarly see a significant increase over the next few years.
Anna Hunt, report author and principal analyst at IMS Research, states, "Although right now there are only a few select operators and networks that have the resources to create and deliver a compelling 3-D offering, most leading service providers and broadcasters around the world are considering how to enhance their premium offerings by incorporating 3-D."
A survey of broadcasters and operators published in the study "3D Video & Gaming in the Home" revealed that 75 percent of the companies surveyed plan to test or offer 3-D over the next 18 months, out of which 20 percent have already launched 3-D in some capacity.
Hunt adds, "Increased adoption of 3-D TV sets into homes will further propel investment in 3-D content production. Currently, low penetration of 3-D-capable displays in consumers' homes is a leading concern of surveyed service providers, followed by lack of standardized 3-D formats."
IMS Research forecasts that by the end of 2014, 9 percent of worldwide TV households will have a 3-D TV set. Penetration is expected to be much higher in the U.S., where 40 percent of TV homes at the end of 2014 are forecast to have a 3-D TV.