Jon Wright
May 13, 2010

Five things you need to know about: 3D TV

The roll out of 3D TV in Asia-Pacific has created a lot of buzz in recent days but what exactly does it mean for the industry. Jon Wright (pictured), regional director of analytics and insight at MEC in Asia-Pacific, tells us five things we need to know about 3D TV.

Five things you need to know about: 3D TV

1. Where the buzz has come from.

3D video content is not entirely new, but was given a significant shot in the arm when top TV manufacturers, including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and LG, announced their plans to rollout 3DTV technology at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In addition, many of the same manufacturers are launching new 3D Bluray boxes and home theatre systems to accompany the TV sets.

2. What’s going on around the world with 3DTV.

A handful of TV broadcasters around the world have started to experiment with the development and delivery of 3D programming. 

Sky in the UK successfully delivered the first 3D live sports broadcast into selected London pubs (Arsenal vs. Man Utd in January). Further to this Sky has announced its intention to launch a dedicated 3D satellite service in the UK. A 3D documentary has been commissioned for the launch, called ‘Flying Monsters 3D’ written and presented by Sir David Attenborough. 

In Asia, Japan and Korea have shown the most experimentation, with local Japanese broadcaster NHK showing short daily segments of 3D content (via BS11 channel) since 2008. In fact, 3D TV screens have been available in Japan since Q1 2008. In Hollywood, where Avatar has been as much a driver of 3DTV as anything else, it is reported that 20 out of 170 films will be released in 3D in 2010.

3. Mainstream viewing however is a distant prospect.

Given the speed of adoption of other technologies (and given HD is still a relatively recent technology for many), mainstream adoption is likely to be a minimum of three to four years away.

Electronics market intelligence firm iSuppli predicts growth of 3D TV shipments from 4.2 million units in 2010 to 78 million in 2015.

Current consumer barriers to adoption include price, the inconvenience of wearing 3D glasses and the availability of content. Content producers and broadcasters will also have to invest ahead of the curve in technology and bandwidth capacity.

4. Current advertising opportunities are there, but few and far between.

We have a catch 22 situation where we are unlikely to invest in significant numbers in 3D without sufficient relevant content, but without the investment from advertisers, producing 3D content (aside from movies) will not be commercially viable. Advertisers looking to be at the forefront should adopt a wait and see approach, whilst monitoring opportunities with broadcasters.

5. Prepare to exploit the opportunities when they arise.

There will be great PR benefits for advertisers who make the first move with 3D TV technology. And more important in the long term, advertisers and agencies who are first to test 3D TV opportunities will have a head start in learning how best to use it to enhance creativity and consumer engagement.
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