The market research firm DisplaySearch is now forecasting that about 3.4 million 3DTVs will be shipped in 20210, for about a 5% share of the total worldwide HDTV market. One of its competitors in the display market research business is iSupply, which now predicts that about 4.2 million 3DTVs will ship this year. DisplaySearch’s prediction for the year 2014 is 42.9 million, which is considerably more pessimistic than iSupply’s 60.5 million forecast.
Whichever number you choose, the big growth in this segment isn’t expected to start until 2012 at which point the premium for 3D capability will be reduced and there will be more content available to attract consumers.
The analysts at iSupply make an interesting point in their forecasts. They predict that the sales of NeTVs — HDTVs that can connect directly to a network to access the Internet — will significantly outsell 3DTVs over the same period. They predict 27.7 million worldwide units this year, growing to 148.3 million in 2014.
I suspect that they are probably right that the NeTVs will sell better. First, the technology has been out longer, and so the premium is getting smaller for the feature. 3D capability is still limited to the larger, premium models which do not sell in the same volumes as more affordable models. At the same time, the Internet connectivity is migrating down into smaller and less expensive models, so it makes good sense that they will sell more.