3D TV Sales off to a Slow Start in Japan

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Sales of 3D televisions in Japan got off to a slow start this year accounting for roughly one in 25 big-screen sets sold during the six months from April, according to reports from TV makers.

In total, 131,000 3D-capable televisions were sold in Japan during the period, said the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). The group collected data from Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba to come up with the number.

Those sales accounted for 1.3 percent of all televisions sold during the six-month period.

The market share of 3D televisions was higher when compared against just televisions with a similar screen size. In the market for 37-inch and above models, 3D televisions accounted for just over 4 percent of the market.

The figures include so-called 3D-ready models that are capable of showing 3D images but don't come with the required glasses.

Japan's big consumer electronics companies launched their first 3D televisions during the period, but the availability of 3D content is still low. Satellite broadcaster SkyPerfecTV has launched a 3D channel that shows mostly sports and special events programming, but requires a subscription fee. None of Japan's major TV networks have launched regular 3D programming.

In October Toshiba showed off a 3D television that doesn't require the viewer to wear special glasses. The set is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in December.

JEITA also reported that 18,000 computers with 3D display capability were sold in Japan during the same period. That accounted for about 0.5 percent of the domestic market.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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