Net-capable beating 3D among HDTV buyers


Will 3D television really get a foothold with US viewers? The jury is still out. But it is clear that HDTV buyers are demanding that their new screens be compatible with viewing video from the Internet.

According to new research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), 56% of broadband households are to varying degrees likely to purchase a new TV in the next six months. TDG expects that close to 25% of broadband households will indeed buy a new HDTV in the next six months, which equates to at least 20 million new purchases during this time period – and that’s just among broadband households.

This is good news for TV manufacturers, but the question to be answered is how many of these sets will be “smart” TVs – TVs that feature native Internet connectivity and can support a host of OEM or secondary “connected TV” applications – and how many will be 3D? Both instances represent higher-end purchases, thus greater revenue per set.

TDG research suggests that new HDTV buyers are 50% more likely to purchase an Internet-connected HDTV versus a 3D HDTV. Among likely HDTV buyers, 78% are likely to buy a “smart” TV, compared to 50% who are likely to buy a 3D TV. This reinforces TDG’s long-standing prediction that “smart” TVs will diffuse much more rapidly than 3D sets, primarily due to the advanced functionality that “smart” TVs offer, a virtue that new buyers consider particularly attractive.

“Most broadband households already own at least one HDTV,” notes Michael Greeson, Founding Partner of TDG and director of research. “When consumers think about their next purchase, HD is not the question: it’s a matter of whether the new set should feature Internet connectivity or 3D, or both. As it stands today, Internet connectivity remains significantly more important than 3D.”

But that doesn’t rule out 3D acceptance. Greeson notes that they are not mutually exclusive. “The question is whether consumers will fork over the extra dollars to get 3D when most HDTVs natively feature Internet connectivity. In such cases, 3D is seen as a major upgrade while net connectivity is increasingly considered to be a standard HDTV feature. This difference is not lost on new TV buyers,” he noted.