3D TV is being billed as possible industry saviour
By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Las Vegas
Stuff Magazine's Simon Osborne-Walker tries out 3D TV
3D TV is being billed as a possible saviour for recession hit manufacturers looking to boost sales.
On the opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas, all the big names unveiled 3D TVs.
Industry experts said the picture looks promising with a survey showing around 3.4m 3D TV sets will be sold in the US this year.
"It's a challenging market. We need something to kick us out of this," said Panasonic's Elsuke Tsuyuzaki.
"To me, the thing that's going to get us there is 3D," added the firm's chief technology officer.
"2009 is a year none of us want to repeat," said Gary Shapiro the president of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which hosts the annual tech gathering.
The association has predicted that for the coming year the whole consumer electronics industry should eke out a slight revenue increase of 0.3%. The rise of $440m (£280m) will take expected revenues to $165.3bn (£105bn)
However Mr Shapiro noted that lower average selling prices for TVs will be a drag. CEA expects TV revenues to decline 2% in this sector to $22.1bn (£14bn) even though unit sales will go up 5% to 37.7m (£24m)
CES is full of 3D evangelists
For several years the industry has talked up the arrival of 3D TV in the home to little effect.
Many however believe 2010 really is the breakthrough year for the technology, helped in large party by the growing number of 3D movies at the theatre and the success of James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar.
"While 3D has taken a number of years to penetrate in the movie theatres, I believe this is the year it will begin to enter the home," Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks Animation told BBC News.
However he added a caveat to that statement.
"It usually takes from five to ten years to transition from one platform to a newer one. To go from analogue to digital has taken about ten years so that is why I say to you this is the year in which 3D is going to enter the home in a really meaningful way."
Mr Katzenberg, who is known as a 3D evangelist, said he is so confident about the future of that vision that he has committed his studio to make 3D versions of all its future movies.
During CES, he announced Dreamworks would release Monsters vs. Aliens as a 3D Blu-ray disc in an exclusive promotion with Samsung and Technicolour.
In 2010 around 20 out of 170 movies will be made in 3D, double the number from last year.
Everywhere you walk, promotions scream out at you. You are left in no doubt that the TV-makers are backing this to the hilt.
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