February 16, 2011

LG Touts ‘Next Generation’ 3-D TV

LG Electronics Inc., the Korean electronics manufacturer, showed off its "next generation" Cinema 3-D TV as it went on sale Wednesday in its domestic market. A global release for the TV is expected next month and the South Korean company thinks it has an advantage, AP is reporting.

LG and other manufacturers including rival Samsung Electronics Co. and Japan's Sony Corp. are making a big push into 3-D TV, though sales last year were considered disappointing.

One perceived drawback for 3-D TV has been the need for bulky and expensive battery-powered glasses. Other negatives have been a lack of content and consumer complaints about eyestrain, headaches and even queasiness. Makers, however, have been rushing to improve the viewing experience and come up with cheaper and lighter versions of 3-D eyewear.

Touting film patterned retarder (FPR) technology, LG is developing lighter glasses, like those worn at 3-D movie theaters, to please consumers. FPR matches images optimized for each eye to result in a smoother picture. For people who wear eyeglasses, there is a clip-on version.

Havis Kwon, president and CEO of LG's home entertainment business, acknowledged that all manufacturers are introducing 3-D TVs and so-called smart TVs, setting up the marketplace for a tough fight in the developing global market.

"There will be competition between the Korean manufacturers and, of course, there will be another competition between the Korean and the Japanese manufacturers in these areas," he told AP. "And we believe that there will be a fierce competition ahead of us."

LG endured a disappointing 2010 reporting its first quarterly loss in nearly two years in the fourth quarter as prices for flat screen televisions fell. S.R. Kwon, an electronics industry analyst at Dongbu Securities in Seoul, said that the global market for 3-D TVs is expected to grow sharply this year to about 18 million sets from 3.2 million in 2010.

LG would not release its 3-D TV sales figure for 2010, but said it expects to sell 5 million this year. "I think it is very competitive," Dongbu's Kwon said of the FPR technology, calling it superior to what LG's competitors are so far offering.


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