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3D Set To Push TV Prices Up

Already sales have shown positive growth for the year with 3D LCD TV panel shipments growing by 104 percent in the first quarter, according to new DisplaySearch figures.

Advanced LED+3D and 3D LCD TV panel shipments increased to 1.9 million units in the first quarter, representing a 3.9 percent penetration among all LCD TV panels shipped.

In addition, panel manufacturers are aggressively working to further increase 3D TV panel penetration in 2011, targeting 16.8 percent penetration for the fourth quarter, and an overall 12.3 percent for 2011.

David Hsieh, vice president of the Greater China Market for Displaysearch, said: “LCD TV panel makers are leveraging 3D as an important feature to rejuvenate TV market demand, in the hope that 3D provides a new viewing experience for consumers.”

“The addition of 3D is attractive to panel makers because the price premium can help them increase average selling prices. Of course, there are many challenges for the industry in promoting 3D LCD TVs to end users, such as inadequate 3D content, the presence of flicker or crosstalk that can cause dizziness, price, uncomfortable glasses, and confusion about different 3D technologies,” he said.

However panel makers are confident that 2011 is the year of 3D TV.

In Q1’11, shutter glass type 3D TV panel shipments reached more than 1M units, while pattern retarder type 3D TV panels followed closely behind with approximately 880,000 units shipped.

Analysts have noted particular approaches taken by panel makers, in an effort to stimulate 3D TV demand. These include 3D price premium reductions, enhancing the 3D viewing experience, 3D Glasses and the emphasis on 2D experience.

In terms of price reductions, the 3D premium in 240 Hz panels for use with shutter glasses has seen reductions of over $25 this year. While pattern retarder technology is considered to have higher cost premiums than high frame rate panels due to the difficulties in producing 3D polarizing films, some panel makers have introduced pattern retarder 3D panels with CCFL backlights, trading the LED backlight premium for the 3D premium.

Improvements in the 3D viewing experience have also been made by using the pattern retarder method to reduce flicker or shutter glasses to enhance the 240 Hz driving frequency and reduce cross talk.

Manufacturers have also improved 3D glasses, including the development of cheaper, more user-friendly, fashionable and comfortable glasses. Some have also developed universal glasses to achieve compatibility.

Meanwhile panel makers have emphasised the need to keep the quality of 2D quality up, including full HD picture quality and high brightness since the amount of time consumers spend watching 2D content will exceed 3D on a 3D-ready TV.  

Some panel makers have also developed high aperture pixel technology to improve vivid full HD picture quality, as well as high contrast panel technology to realize real black, even in low gray scales.