Driven by a pronounced change in marketing and promotion strategies as well as price declines and an increasing availability of content, worldwide shipments of 3-D TVs will catapult by 463 percent to reach 23.4 million units in 2011, according to IHS iSuppli research.

“In a major recalibration effort, television brands are changing strategies this year following lukewarm response to 3-D in 2010 when consumers balked at the high price of sets and the lack of 3-D content,” said Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at IHS, in a statement. “In 2011, however, brands are marketing 3-D not as a must-have technology but as a desirable feature, similar to the approach they have taken with Internet connectivity.”

Brands believe this approach to promoting 3-D allows consumers to decide whether they wish to use the feature when they are ready, while convincing them that their newly purchased TV is future-proofed, Patel noted.

To further motivate consumers to buy 3-D TVs, brands are slashing prices. Prices for 3-D TVs fell 9 percent during March 2011 compared to February, according to the US TV Price and Specifications Tracker, a monthly IHS iSuppli service that tracks U.S. TV prices. Within the next year, prices will shift again, in accordance with the feature mix dictated by public preferences at the moment – a process expected to democratize 3-D adoption among consumers in all income brackets.

Broadcasting of 3-D also will enjoy an uptake, helping to dispel the public perception of a serious lack in currently available 3-D content for consumption. From the launch of 3-D TV services in June 2010 for the United States, and then in October the same year for the United Kingdom, more than 80 live sources of 3-D broadcast or pay-TV content had been delivered by the end of 2010. More programming will be available this year, topped by sports-related events and then followed by primetime entertainment, films and documentaries.

Options also are arising for the 3-D glasses that are required for 3-D TV viewing. While the current active shutter glasses provide better picture quality, an alternative known as passive Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) not only will expand availability in sizes as small as 32-inches, but also will reduce the overall cost of ownership, with the glasses being more user-friendly as well. By 2015, passive 3-D shipments will surpass those of active 3-D, IHS expects.

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