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The Trojan Horse of 3DTV

By: Shawn DuBravac 13 June 2013

ESPN’s news that they plan to discontinue their 3D channel at the end of the year has the tech industry asking, “is 3D dead?”
3D has ebbed and flowed for 50+ years and most recently burst back onto the scene with the initial introductions of 3DTVs at the 2009 International CES. With these product introductions at CES, 3D became a home entertainment technology for the first time.
As with all new technology introductions, initial sales were slow. Technology diffusion follows s-shaped adoption curves and it takes time for consumers to become aware of the technology and subsequently bring it into their homes. 3DTV wasn’t the motivating purchase factor for a large swath of consumers that many within the industry had hoped.
While ESPN is halting their 3D channel, other content producers like Pixar Studios remain committed to the 3D format. James Cameron is nearly done writing Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 which have planned releases of 2014 and 2015 respectively. Both will be 3D movies. The home 3D ecosystem is still coming together – right along the path predicted by traditional diffusion models.    
At the same time consumers are buying 3DTVs – even if they don’t really know it. U.S. factory unit sales of 3D-enabled televisions are expected to reach 5.7 million this year. A 39 percent growth from 4.1 million in 2012- and this is after growing by 50 percent in 2012. This year approximately 17 percent of all TVs sold will have 3D functionality. (Source: U.S Consumer Electronics Sales & Forecast, January 2013)
Yes, 3DTV never realized its potential to accelerate TV replacements. But on average, US households buy a new TV every three years and increasingly these TVs have 3D capabilities. 3D now settles in among the host of features included in the latest TVs – and is a standard feature for all almost all high-end television sets purchased today.
This isn’t to say 3DTV will one day fully engulf all entertainment. 3DTV will make for a more rich entertainment experience in some situations, but probably not all. While pieces of the 3D ecosystem will likely continue to ebb and flow, the home 3D experience isn’t disappearing just yet.     
Shawn DuBravac
Chief Economist and Sr. Director of Research
Consumer Electronics Association
Shawn G. DuBravac, Ph.D.Chief Economist and Senior Director of Research Consumer Electronics AssociationDr. Shawn DuBravac is chief economist of the Consumer... More
Shawn G. DuBravac, Ph.D.
Chief Economist and Senior Director of Research
Consumer Electronics Association

Dr. Shawn DuBravac is chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, which owns and produces the International CES, the world’s largest gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.

DuBravac is the author of CEA’s third book Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate (Regnery, 2015), which explores how the world’s mass adoption of digital technologies portends the beginning of a new era for humanity in the realms of economics, health, travel and culture.

In his role as CEA’s chief economist, DuBravac provides crucial economic analysis to association and industry leaders regarding future economic activity and the relative health of the technology industry. He also contributes research on technology trends that underpin the industry. He was the primary driver of the industry’s new smartphone index, developed in partnership with NASDAQ, and the CE consumer confidence index, in partnership with CNET. In 2012, DuBravac was named to Dealerscope’s “40 under 40” list of people to watch in the consumer technology industry.

DuBravac has been widely published on the topics of finance, economics and technology. His keen insights regarding the economic drivers of the global consumer electronics industry have made him a highly sought-after speaker and commentator. DuBravac travels both internationally and domestically to meet with CE industry leaders and make presentations about technology and the economy. In addition, his analysis has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, Barron’s and on CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets.

DuBravac has taught as an adjunct professor for George Washington University’s MBA program and has taught at Mary Washington University and for George Mason University’s MBA program. Prior to joining CEA, DuBravac was head research analyst in the Economic Analysis Group of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division He holds economic degrees from Brigham Young University and George Mason University.  

DuBravac shares many of his insights and ideas on Twitter at @shawndubravac.  


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