Samsung Aims to Sell 2 Mil. 3D TVs in 2010

Samsung Electronics is heavily betting on its 3D TVs with aggressive sales targets and a concrete content-related strategy. The world's top manufacturer of flat-screen television sets said that it aims to sell over 2 million 3D LED-backlit LCD TVs globally this year. Of the total 35 million LCD TV sales it has targeted for 2010, Samsung plans to sell 10 million LED-backlit LCD models, which is almost quadruple the 2.6 million it sold in 2009.

"The 3D TV segment will be the main battleground for Samsung this year. The outlook is positive after checking consumer responses. Samsung predicts global 3D TV demand will rise by 3.5 million throughout this year," Yoon Boo-keun, the president of the company's visual display division, said in a press conference in Seoul.

Research firms' sales forecasts for the global 3D market vary from 1 million to 6.5 million TVs in 2010.

"Some technology matters still remain for the better watching of 3D TV, but the market itself is highly lucrative. 3D TV is the top buzzword for our business in 2010, while LED-backlit LCD TV was last year's," according to Yoon.

He said Samsung has developed technology that converts 2D content to 3D that will give consumers an extra dimension even when 3D content is hard to find.

Yoon said Samsung has been in in-depth talks with several content providers to use the patented contents of its 3D LED-backlit LCD TVs to match up with the new strategy.

"Samsung is in talks with a few major content providers to boost sales, though we can't further comment over the talks for the time being," the executive said.

In 2009, it had struck an exclusive 3D content deal with Dreamworks Animation of the United States.

"For contents, we are talking with other terrestrial broadcasters and game developers for similar deals to raise the offerings of 3D content," said Kim Hyun-suk, a senior executive at the division.

Glass Dilemma
But Samsung said the introduction of 3D TVs without glasses is highly unlikely over the next five years due to technology drawbacks. Along with a lack of content, the required use of glasses and high prices are cited as the major hurdles facing the penetration of 3D TVs into the market.

"The resolution of panels must be increased by nine-fold to watch 3D programs without glasses. But TV prices will rapidly soar because more larger-sized panels will be needed," according to Yoon.

"It might be impossible to experience such programs without glasses. Introducing 3D TV without glasses is currently out of the question," Yoon said.

Samsung plans to sell a 46-inch HD LED-backlit LCD TV set for 4.2 million won ($3,640), while its 55-inch model will sell at 5.8 million won in the South Korean market. The models don't include the cost of the glasses. In comparison, Samsung's 46-inch conventional LCD TV without LED backlighting technology costs about 1.5 million won.

"The cost of the viewing glasses will vary according to regions and outlets. But we will use the glass price as a marketing tool," Yoon said.

By Kim Yoo-chul, The Korea Times