3D TV consumer awareness growing, but so is knowledge of inhibitors

More consumers are aware of 3D TVs and 3D-compatible Blu-ray players than ever before, but they are also becoming more aware of the two "major pain points" associated with the technology.

Consumer awareness of 3D LCD TVs jumped from 28 percent in September 2010 to 36 percent in February 2011, and awareness of 3D plasma TVs escalated from 21 percent to 32 percent, said US-based market researcher the NPD Group in a report released on April 11.

High prices and aversions to wearing 3D glasses are still major inhibitors to widespread adoption of 3D TV in the home.

"Concerns about price and an aversion to 3D glasses both saw relative increases as inhibitors to adopting 3D televisions," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at The NPD Group.

"However, as prices and price premiums for 3D TV decline, glasses are becoming a more prominent inhibitor, and are poised to overtake price."

The gap between 2D and 3D TV prices is slowly decreasing with the average selling price for a 2D LCD dropping from $594 in February 2010 to $511 in February 2011 and 3D LCD prices falling from $2,683 to $1,705 during the same period.

The price difference between 2D and 3D plasma screens is even smaller; 2D and 3D plasma TV prices fell from $878 and $2,948 in 2010 to $603 and $1,214 in 2011.

Lack of 3D content remains an additional obstacle to widespread 3D TV adoption, however, 68 percent of consumers interested in 3D TV said they are most excited about watching Blu-ray movies in 3D.

Less than 40 percent said they wanted to watch sports or satellite programming in three dimensions on their TV.

"Both movies and sports were important content drivers in the HD transition," said Rubin. "However, while feature films provided a large library of content that could be readily converted to HD, there wasn't packaged media that delivered on the promise of the entertainment experience as Blu-ray now provides for 3D."

Almost 2,000 respondents from an online panel (open to North American residents) participated in NPD’s 3D 360° Monitor Report in February 2011.