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3-D TV sets to come to market next year

LOS ANGELES — Major electronics manufacturers Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. plan to introduce 3-D-capable high-definition televisions next year for the mass market. You'll still need to wear special glasses, though.

Movie studios hope 3-D can help lift the sagging home video market the same way it has boosted box office results.

The initial price of such sets is expected to be high — perhaps 20 percent more than normal sets of the same size. But costs should come down in the coming years.

Based on prices, 3-D-ready TVs could be in 28 million to 46 million homes worldwide by 2013, predicts Alfred Poor, an analyst with GigaOM Pro. He estimates that next year, as many as 2.5 million sets worldwide will be sold with 3-D capability.

"We're raising a whole generation of kids who expect to see this effect for their movies at home," Poor said. "I think people want 3-D. I just don't think they're going to want to pay a whole lot more for it."

To avoid the need for special screens, some manufacturers of TV sets are shunning the 3-D technology common in theaters in favor of what's known as "active shutter." That uses an infrared emitter on the TV to tell battery-powered glasses when to flicker the left and right lenses in conjunction with the images on the screen, which gives the perception of three dimensions.

The sets themselves will require relatively minor upgrades from today's models, but the glasses will cost more, raising the price of the overall package.

3-D TV sets to come to market next year 10/25/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 25, 2009 9:16pm]
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