3D play hots up with LG's entry

Chitra Narayanan Recently in South Korea | Updated on April 11, 2011

After Samsung and Sony, it's the turn now of LG Electronics to launch 3D television in India. By late April or early May, the Korean chaebol will roll out its Cinema 3D TV range in the country.

Taking a team of Indian journalists to its Seoul headquarters and its Paju factory to get a live experience of its 3D range, the company disclosed how India is one of the earliest markets where it will be launching the product, after home base South Korea where it hit the market in February.

“LG is targeting to have more than 10 per cent of 3D TVs in its total TV portfolio in India,” said Mr Hyun Woo Lee, vice-president, LCD TV Asia Marketing Team, Home Entertainment Company, LG Electronics. “LG ships 1.5 million TV sets to India annually so you can work out the maths – around 150,000 sets will be the 3D range,” he said.

But is there a market for 3D TV in homes, at all? Especially, given the discomfort of viewing through glasses all the time, shortage of 3D content as well as the premium pricing – both the Sony and Samsung ranges start at over Rs 1.20 lakh with some offerings going up to over Rs 4 lakh, and LG's product, although it has not disclosed its pricing, is also expected to be in that same range.

2D into 3D

LG says it is aware of consumer resistance and claims its Film Patterned Retarder technology is a next generation innovation, as opposed to the Shutter Glass technology favoured by its rivals. “It is flicker free and has no cross talk. The glasses too have been made very lightweight – just 16 g in weight and do not use batteries, thus preventing headaches,” said Mr Lee. The lack of content issue has been addressed through a software that at the click of the remote converts the 2D content to 3D.

However, Samsung which was the first to launch in India, in mid 2010, too claims its product has no cross talk either and viewing angles are superior. “The market response has been good and we expect even better pick up once the content situation eases up,” said the Samsung spokesperson.

Competition is likely to be intense for LG in India, as Sony, when it launched in September 2010, projected as much as 30 per cent revenue contribution to come from its 3D offerings.

According to Mr Giraj Sharma of Behind the Moon consultancy firm, the TV market size in 2010 as mapped by their firm was 15.84 million units. Of this, he says, LCD/Plasma and LED have a very small share – with estimated sales of 3 million units. “On the other hand, this category grew almost 100 per cent over the year before,” says Mr Sharma.

Published on April 11, 2011

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