by Tony Daltorio, Investment U Research
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
After three decades of experiments, false starts and broken promises, high quality, low cost, 3D TV seems to be right around the corner.
With the industry beginning to set the necessary standards to support the technology, movies, games, Blueray disc players and Sony ADR (NYSE: SNE) PS3 consoles could hit store shelves by the middle of this year… all equipped with 3D capabilities.
Meanwhile, with recent smash-hit Avatar’s success burned in their memories, content creators, distributors, consumer electronics manufacturers and Hollywood studios have all expressed serious interest in wowing their own audiences.
- Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) and DreamWorks Animation (Nasdaq: DWA) have promised 3D copies of all their future animated titles.
- Satellite television provider DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Panasonic are collaborating on three 3D channels due out by June 2010.
- Disney-owned ESPN will broadcast 85 sports events this year in 3D, starting with a World Cup soccer match in the summer.
- Sony, Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA) and Imax (Nasdaq: IMAX) announced a joint venture for the first dedicated 24-seven 3D television network in the U.S. next year.
Impressed? Just wait, because you ain’t seen nothing yet…
3D Technology Up Close And Personal
The technology has already moved well beyond the cheap, red and blue lenses audiences had to wear just a few years ago. Now, viewers use more sophisticated glasses to appreciate the 3D experience.
And Sony, Samsung, Toshiba and JVC have all teamed up with the privately owned RealD to promote active shutter technology, which relies on synchronized shutters to block the 3D image from one eye and then the next at an accelerated rate.
Meanwhile, privately-held Vizio – the leading discount HDTV brand in the U.S. – recently struck a deal with Canadian firm Sensio Technologies (PINK: SNIOF) to create HD3D TVs that don’t require any eyewear at all.
Consumers can expect a growing number of RealD-style glasses to hit the shelves over the next few years. But even the company’s CEO, Michael Lewis, sees the industry moving beyond that before long.
“We have the technology for no glasses… but if I had to guess, it’s probably five to seven years away. It revolves around a lot more process power and faster refresh rates. But the good news is [that] TVs are getting better and better.”
Investors need to keep in mind throughout each stage though, that this isn’t another format war like they saw a few years ago in the Blu-ray v. HD DVD battle, or VHS v. Betamax before that. It doesn’t affect the TVs so much as how the content transfers from the screen to viewers.
And that means that content, content makers and content providers are driving this push into 3D TV; not electronics companies.
The Future of Television
Television manufacturers view these developments as the next big thing for the industry, and expect it to boost sales and interest as much as color TVs did to black and white entertainment decades ago. They have good reason to think so too, considering the increasing availability of 3D products and the fact that sales have already begun to climb, despite the recession.
And according to estimates, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
This year alone U.S. consumers are expected to purchase a mere one million 3D TV sets. But by 2013, 4.3 million or 25% of all televisions – and nearly 50% of HDTVs – sold in the U.S. should include the new technology.
In addition, U.S.-based, market research group DisplaySearch sees the total market increasing from the 700,000 units sold and $902 million it made in 2008, to 196 million units and $22 billion in 2018 as global demand climbs, particularly in North America and Asia-Pacific.
Companies that create and deliver content like Disney, Dreamworks and DirecTV should all take a pretty piece of that pie, but television makers are set to make the most from the new technology. And of that group, Sony could easily come out on top since it’s betting so big on 3D as the future.
Just ask company CEO, Howard Stringer, who recently stated: “It is clear to us that consumers will always migrate to a better and richer entertainment experience… we are determined to be the leader in providing that around the world.”
Take his words and put it to good use. You’ll like what you see in just a few years’ time.
Tony DaltorioPicture Your Portfolio Bigger And Better With 3D Technology,