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3D Television Upside Expectations Recalibrated

The early expectations of 3D TV were clearly exaggerated, while current press coverage laments the fact that 3D television has not lived up to its promise. The reality is somewhere between the two extremes.

3D channels have been launched in North America, Europe, and Asia in 2010. More will come in 2011. In addition to linear TV channels, 3D content is being made widely available on pay-TV providers VOD systems. Those who are experimenting with 3D VOD now are expected to make linear 3D channels available as well.

The result is an anticipated increase in the number of 3D TV channels to over 100 by 2015, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

"Pay-TV providers around the globe who have HD systems in place have jumped on the 3D content being made available to them at a faster rate than many had expected," says Michelle Abraham, Principal Analyst at In-Stat.

Many took advantage of the World Cup 3D coverage to test transmission of 3D over their networks, and some of them have now launched transmission of regular 3D TV channels.

The competitive nature of pay-TV ensures that once one pay-TV distributor in a country is offering 3D, the others need to be fast followers unless they want to lose their top-tier customers.

In-Stat's market study revealed the following:

- 3D live event coverage will grow in 2011 but challenges remain.

- Sports, movie, documentary, and music channels are most likely to move to 3D first.

- The largest number of 3D channels are currently available in Europe, where the significant competition among pay-TV providers play a role.

- As the costs to reproduce in 3D decline over time, the 3D content production will grow more quickly.

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