The big year for 3D TV? 2013

Of course the year that 3D TV will really start to take off would have a “3” in it. At least, that’s what ABI Research says about the growing trend in consumer electronics that apparently isn’t going to die anytime soon.

Curiously, though, the research firm doesn’t believe North America will be the one to vault 3D TV into wild commercial success. In fact it predicts the Asia Pacific region to receive more 3D TV shipments over the next five years than any other region. North America will still, of course, take a large chunk of the global market.

Western Europe will take the lion’s share of the rest of global 3D TV shipments, with Central Europe and Latin America each only accounting for slivers.

But across all regions, there will only be moderate growth until 2013. At that point, adoption will explode rapidly over the following two years to the point where more than 50 million 3D TVs are shipped in 2015.

These numbers do include 3D TV sets that don’t require glasses, known as autostereoscopic 3D sets. Toshiba is set to launch the first one of these by the end of the year in Japan. ABI did not break down how the market between stereoscopic 3D and autostereoscopic 3D will change.

Because 3D TVs are just the newest kind of HDTVs, these numbers don’t necessarily represent the number of people who would actually go out and buy 3D glasses or 3D content. It will just become the next standard. HDTV saw a very similar growth to adoption, where a fair amount of new HDTV owners still had no idea how to or even any interest to watch high-def programming.