3D TV Stocks: Industry Blames Poor Sales on Hollywood

By all accounts, the 3D TV was supposed to be the next-big-thing in home entertainment. But when it comes to our TV viewing habits, it seems that two-dimensions may be greater than three.

Sales of 3D TV sets have disappointed since its 2010 debut, putting it right on track to go the way of the Betamax.  

So what went wrong?

According to Panasonic marketing director Andrew Denham, you can thank Hollywood for the small screen technology’s lackluster showing. Following Avatar’s spectacular commercial success, studios raced to add an extra dimension to films in the production pipeline, with a pretty blatant disregard for quality.

At a recent Intellect Consumer Electronics 2011 show, Denham proclaimed that “Hollywood damaged 3D by rushing so many badly converted films out.”  And if you’ve seen post-Avatar classics such as Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience or Step Up 3D, you have to admit that he may have a point.   

But while Hollywood’s box office flops certainly haven’t helped sell sets, there are far greater underlying problems with the technology.

A recent report from market research firm NPD group suggests that the main culprits are the lack of content and still-sky high price tags. And of course, those pesky glasses–add eye strain, nausea, and fatigue to the already exorbitant cost and most viewers are going to take a pass.

Despite considerable price reductions and less noxious eyewear options, 3D TV is having a hard time shaking the stigma attached to it.

Will the technology ever catch on? Hard to say for sure–but here’s a list of stocks with exposure to the trend to get your research started.


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List sorted by market cap.

1. Corning Inc. (GLW): Corning’s Display Technologies segment manufactures glass substrates for matrix liquid crystal displays (LCDs), that are used primarily in notebook computers, flat panel desktop monitors, and LCD televisions. It manufactures glass panels for LCD TV’s in a joint venture with Samsung. It is developing glass panels optimised for 3D TV.

2. Sony Corporation (SNE): Market cap of 27.23B. It is engaged in the development, design, manufacture, and sale of various kinds of electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional and industrial markets, as well as game consoles and software. Sony is also engaged in the development, production, manufacture, and distribution of recorded music. It currently manufactures and sells a line of 3D HDTV’s using Corning’s glass.

3. Hitachi Ltd. (HIT): Market cap of 26.88B. It is engaged in developing a diversified product mix ranging from electricity generation systems to consumer products and electronic devices. Its Digital Media & Consumer Products segment manufactures and sells flat-panel TV’s. Hitachi is reportedly working on a line of 3D TV’s, although it has not released its product yet.

4. Panasonic Corporation (PC): Market cap of 25.67B. It is a manufacturer of electronic and electric products for a range of consumer, business and industrial uses, as well as a variety of components. It offers Panasonic-branded 3D HDTVs, Blu-ray disc players and home theatre systems, 3D camcorders, and 3D HD eyewear (battery-operated glasses)

5. Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (PHG): Market cap of 25.64B. Philips’ activities in the field of health and well-being are organised on a sector basis, which includes Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. It currently offers 3D HDTVs (glasses required) and large flat panel 3D displays (for public signage) that do no require glasses for viewing.

6. LG Display Co., Ltd. (LPL): Market cap of 10.22B. It manufactures thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels in a range of sizes and specifications primarily for use in televisions, notebook computers and desktop monitors. It is also a suppliers of high-definition television panels. It currently manufactures and sells a line of large 3D TV’s (glasses required).

7. AU Optronics Corp. (AUO): Market cap of 5.62B. It is principally engaged in the research, development, design, manufacture and distribution of flat panel displays. The Company provides large-, medium- and small-sized flat panel displays, which primarily include thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) related products. It produces 3-D flat panel LCD screens in addition to its other displays.


Interactive Chart: Press Play to see how analyst ratings have changed for all the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

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