Friday, March 27, 2009

Philips Backs Out Of "No Glasses Based 3D TVs" - Cites Market Conditions

Jim here. According to Chris Chinnock of Display Daily (Insight Media), Philips CEO Jos Swillens has announced internally that they will cease the operations of their 3D Solutions.

Swillens wrote: "Because of current market developments, the point in time where mass adoption of no-glasses based 3D TV will occur has shifted significantly. Therefore, Philips has decided to stop the 3D Solutions venture. Philips has been marketing its leading no-glasses based 3D technologies through a pro-active approach for a long time, because it believes that over time, no-glasses based 3D TVs will bring the ultimate 3D experience to the home. Unfortunately, the current market developments no longer justify such a pro-active approach. As a consequence of this, Philips has decided to scale down its investments in this area. In practice, this means that the 3D Solutions venture will be discontinued."

From Display Daily: "In a follow up discussion with Bjorn Teuwsen, Manager Marketing & Communications, he explained that the recession and the impact on the LCD industry had changed the math in their risk-reward calculation. In essence, Philips needed the LCD industry to make investments in new switchable 2D/3D technology and to aggressively cost reduce Quad HD panels. Philips believed both were needed to establish cost effective autostereoscopic 3D TVs. But the LCD makers are delaying these investments and the ripple effect impacted Philips by stretching out the time when these TVs would become available. The consequence was that Philips would need more time and investment in 3D. While it also has a viable B2B 3D display business, it was judged that the revenue from this component, plus the additional investment and longer time scale to a consumer AS-3D TV, ultimately did outweigh the potential long-term income from 3D TVs. The business equation became too risky, which is why the operation was shut down."

"Philips was clearly the market leader and evangelist for autostereoscopic (no-glasses) 3D displays. It was selling its 42" lenticular-based 3D display (42-3D6W02) along with its 3×3 array of these displays called the WOWvx, and it has a number of sites using its Blue Box and Red Box processors. Prototypes of 50-inch and 8-inch no-glasses 3D displays were close to introduction too. At last year's 3D BizEx event, it showcased the future of AS-3D display by demonstrating a 56-inch AS-3D display with a native resolution of 4096×2160, creating one of the best no-glasses 3D images to date."

What does this mean for the future of 3D with Philips home electronics? Well this particular 3D Solutions team was NOT part of the Philips Consumer Lifestyle group (responsible for TVs), and Teuwsen stated that there is a strong push for 3DTV right now. It is just that autostereoscopic TVs (ASTVs - no glasses) will be further delayed.

And to underscore that, this means Philips is out of the No-3D Glasses TV Race. I am not going to say this doesn't hurt - it does. But ASTVs will still have a future - just a little more drawn out now. The 3DTVs that depend on 3D glasses are still very much alive and growing rapidly.

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