Get your glasses on, 3D is coming to a home near you

Sony Corp will launch 3D televisions in June, entering an increasingly crowded market that is betting the revolutionary TV will become the next hot product in the electronics industry.

The maker of Bravia flat TVs hopes 3D models to make up 10 per cent of more than 25 million LCD TVs it aims to sell in the next financial year. Sony's Chief Executive Howard Stringer holds high hopes of a shift to 3D as it will likely give a boost to many of its business operations, which range from TVs, digital cameras and Blu-ray DVD players to video games.

Alex Oh, an analyst at Hanwha Securities in Seoul, said: "Sony is a formidable competitor to Samsung because it is leading the game industry. It will likely be ardent game players who will first buy 3D TVs." He said: "In that sense, Sony, which is envisioning a comprehensive entertainment company, will take advantage of its game business, contents and movies, compared with Samsung and LG which remain focused on hardwares."

Behind industry leader Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Sony is vying with LG Electronics Inc for the position as the world's number two flat TV maker. The maker of the PlayStation 3 game console plans to release 3D game software around June in time for TV launch.

Last month, Samsung started offering 3D TVs in South Korea and said it would launch them globally this month with the aim of selling at least two million 3D TVs this year.

Panasonic Corp, the fourth-largest, is due to launch its 3D TVs in the United States today and says it will co-operate with the top US electronics retailer Best Buy Co in promoting them.

Many TV makers hope the new technology will be as big a boost for the industry as the transition to colour TVs from black and white.

However, some analysts noted many consumers have only just unboxed new high-definition TV screens, making them unwilling to spend on another upgrade.

Sony expects a model with a 46-inch screen to sell for ¥350,000 (Dh14,238) including two pairs of 3D glasses, a 52 per cent premium over its latest regular LCD TV with a comparable screen size.

"We will liberate 3D from the confines of movie theatres and make it something people can enjoy at home," Sony Senior Vice President Yoshihisa Ishida said.

The sci-fi blockbuster Avatar and other recent titles have sparked massive interest in 3D movies, and electronics makers are now rushing to get flat panel TVs with three-dimensional visual effects to the market.


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