A recent research report predicts 3-D TV will become a popular consumer product in 2011 and into the near future.

The report, from IHS Research, is predicting a big boost for shipments of 3-D TVs -- a 463 percent increase to reach 23.4 million units in 2011. In 2010, 3-D was a nascent technology, and shipments were well under 5 million. However, in 2011, a changing attitude on the part of 3-D TV manufacturers will help set the technology in a new effort.

In a major recalibration effort, television brands are changing strategies this year following lukewarm response to 3-D in 2010 when consumers balked at the high price of sets and the lack of 3-D content, said Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at IHS, in a statement. In 2011, however, brands are marketing 3-D not as a must-have technology but as a desirable feature, similar to the approach they have taken with Internet connectivity.

The 3-D TV projections for 2011 are only the beginning. IHS is predicting more triple-digit growth in 2012, when shipments will soar by 132 percent to 54.2 million units. By 2015, IHS is predicting 159.2 million 3-D TVs will be shipped.

Patel says the companies' changed strategy will allow consumers to choose to use the feature based on when they are ready -- while convincing them that the TV is future-proofed. This will make 3-D TV appear as of more of a possible choice in an existing product, rather than a new product segment that they are unprepared to spend money on.

Furthermore, IHS predicts a major price drop on all 3-D TV sets. Patel notes from February to March of this year, prices have already fallen nine percent. He also predicts more 3-D content will make it to the airwaves, making the sets a more appealing buy for consumers. From virtually nothing when 3-D TVs hit the airwaves last June to 80 live sources of 3-D entertainment, along with Blu-Ray and DVD, this has already started to happen.

In addition, IHS sees the situation with 3-D glasses becoming less complicated. Patel says the current active shutter glasses may provide better picture quality, but the passive Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology will expand availability in sizes as small as 32-inches but reduce the overall cost of ownership as well.

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