March 09, 2010, 12:44 PM — This is the year that Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and other television makers throw serious weight behind 3D TV, but their sales projections seem rather generous.
All three companies started talking a big game yesterday, revealing launch plans and sales expectations. Panasonic, which will start selling 3D TVs at Best Buy this week, expects to ship 1 million of them this year. Samsung said it will ship 2 million 3D TVs -- roughly 5 percent of its total TV shipments. Sony was more generous, projecting that 2.5 million, or 10 percent, of its HDTVs sold this year will be 3D sets.
I'm skeptical that 3D TV will take off this year, but don't take my word for it. Let's look at some numbers from the experts:
Market researcher iSuppli's 3D TV forecast from earlier this month projects 4.2 million shipments (not sales, mind you) worldwide this year. That's 1.3 million less than the combined 3D TV sales or shipments from Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung, and they're not the only companies readying 3D TVs this year. Vizio and LG are both throwing their hats in the ring.
Projections aside, consumer concerns are going to make 3D TVs a tough sell this year. An NPD report from February said roughly a third of consumers are at least "somewhat interested" in the technology, but they're worried about prices, the availability and cost of 3D content and the convenience, or lack thereof, of wearing 3D glasses.