TV Makers Gamble's New Target On 3-D

With flat-panel TVs selling for the prices comparable to ordinary televisions a few years ago, manufacturers searching for the next profit boost are preparing a big push with models that can display pictures in 3-D batteries.The world's biggest TV companies are hoping the move will let them capitalize on the billions of dollars they have invested in display technologies this decade and stay a step ahead of the discount brands that have taken a sizable bite from their market share.

But the potential gain from 3-D TVs hangs on whether consumers will immediately flock to the technology, and whether there's enough appealing 3-D content to draw them like Dell GK479 . A delay will allow other manufacturers time to catch up, leading to the price competition that routinely whittles down profits in electronic goods.

Thursday, Sony Corp. struck a partnership with RealD, a maker of 3-D technology and equipment, such as eyewear. Under the deal, Sony will license the company's technology to produce equipment that is expected to hit stores in 2010 for VGP-BPS8 .This year marked a massive roll-out of 3-D technology in movie theaters, as Hollywood released a string of films, such as DreamWorks Animation SKG's "Monsters vs. Aliens" and Twentieth Century Fox's "Avatar," which hits screens this weekend. Sony and other electronics manufacturers are racing to develop equipment that aims to provide a comparable 3-D viewing experience at home.

Those efforts are likely to intensify in the wake of an accord announced Thursday between a group of electronics makers and movie studios finalizing standards for home 3-D viewing like PA3399U-1BRS.At next month's big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony, Panasonic Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. are all expected to unveil 3-D TVs in several forms, including both liquid-crystal-display and plasma-display flat screens. The TVs will also display traditional two-dimensional images.

"3-D will be the keyword for the 2010 CES," says Choi Seung-jong, senior research fellow at LG's digital TV lab in Seoul.Morgan Stanley electronics analyst Masahiro Ono estimates there may be as many as 50 million 3-D compatible televisions globally in 2012 for Sony-VGP-BPS5.Companies haven't announced prices for the new 3-D televisions, but industry executives have said there won't be a huge premium over existing high-end models, which can sell for more than $2,000.

Panasonic says consumers won't be "surprised" by the price difference between 3-D and regular televisions. A Sony executive said it might be looking at charging an extra $200 for its 3-D televisions—mainly to cover its costs and the price of the specially made glasses.LG for several months has sold a 47-inch 3-D LCD in South Korea for about double the price of a comparably sized model for Presario R3000 Battery. So far LG, Hyundai IT Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. are among the few manufacturers with a 3-D TV on the market, but they haven't gained widespread adoption amid a paucity of 3-D discs and broadcasts.

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