3-D TV may be the most-hyped consumer electronics trend of 2010, but it’s not actually where the money is: That’s the gist of a new report from iSuppli, which estimates that only around 4.2 million 3-D TV sets will ship worldwide this year. Internet-enabled TV sets, on the other hand, will ship at a rate of 27.7 million this year, representing 124.9 percent growth.
iSuppli doesn’t doubt that 3-D TV will eventually become more mainstream, but the limited availability of 3-D content, expensive glasses and interoperability issues are causing many people to hold out on the new trend. Oh, and I guess those warnings that you shouldn’t watch 3-D when you’re drunk, pregnant or elderly don’t really help either…
On the other hand, Internet-enabled TV sets are quickly becoming mainstream, with iSuppli estimating that global shipments will reach 148.3 million units by 2014, representing 54 percent of the total flat-panel TV market. 3-D TV shipments will reach 60.5 million units that year.
This rate of growth is also good news for the semiconductor business: Revenue from chips used for Internet-enabled TV sets will reach $2 billion by 2014, up from $222 million in2009, iSuppli estimates.
Of course, these numbers also show that strategies to enter the living room could soon shift: This year, many companies are still betting on separate boxes to bring platforms like Google TV or Boxee to consumers. However, those boxes may have a very limited shelf life if every second TV sold is going to directly connect to the Internet in a matter of years.
Related content on GigaOm Pro: Are We Putting the 3-D Cart Before the Horse? (subscription required)