Consumer electronics companies like Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic are ushering in the new 3D TV technology into the Indian living rooms.
All the companies are expecting to sell 3D televisions in India from this year onwards as they expect the ‘Avatar’ fever to enhance sales of the technology.
LG Electronics, in partnership with Valuable Group, will start selling 3D TVs in India from May onwards. Valuable Group is a media company which operates in 1700 cinemas and has a 40 per cent market share in the segment. The group recently acquired the global broadcasting license for Indian Premier League, the country’s professional cricket league. LG plans to deploy its 3D Televisions in all venues where Indian cricket fans gather, including public bars and restaurants across the country, to coincide with Valuable Group’s live 3D broadcast of the final four games of IPL.
LG plans to target 25 per cent of the global 3D TV market and expects the 3D market to grow to around 3.8 million units this year and to over 13 million in 2011. “Our goal is to boost market share in the 3D TV segment and our target for 3D market share is 10 percentage points above our LCD TV sales target,” says Havis Kwon, vice-president and head of LCD division, LG.
The number of LCD sets sold by LG stood at 5.2 million in the first quarter versus a 2010 target of 25 million sets. The company also plans to increase its global market share in the LCD TV segment to 15 per cent this year from 11 per cent last year.
LG will be competing with local rival Samsung Electronics and Japan’s Sony Corp as both the companies have charted out their 3D television plans for India. Samsung India has already started manufacturing 3D LED TVs at its Noida and Chennai factories and will be the first company to do so. “We have launched 10 3D models in March across the LED, LCD and Plasma platforms. We expect our 3D sets to constitute 10 per cent of our total LED television sales this year,” says Ravinder Zutshi, deputy managing director of Samsung India. Samsung India expects to sell 1.2 million flat panel TVs this year, of which 300,000 would be LEDs. Samsung 3D televisions will automatically convert all 2D video to 3D and they will also be launching 3D Blu-ray players. The Monster vs Aliens 3D DVD will be bundled with all Samsung 3D TVs along with two active shutter 3D glasses. The Samsung applications store for internet-enabled TVs will also be available.
Sony and Panasonic are the other two companies looking to cash in on the 3D TV fever. Both the companies import most of its products to India. Sony India announced its entry into the segment by introducing its Bravia 3D LCD TV recently. “We are launching our 3D televisions globally in June this year. The technology will be a big boost for the industry and high-end television options,” says Sunil Nayyar, GM (sales), Sony India. Bravia 3D LCD TVs, according to a company representative, will soon be able to convert 2D content from TV and DVDs to 3D, though the effect may not match up to original 3D content.
Panasonic is also planning a global launch of 3D television sets by May-June this year. According to Sabiha Kidwai, GM-marketing and corporate strategy, Panasonic India, her company will also launch 3D televisions globally, including India, very soon.
But, analysts feel that it will take some time before the 3D television fever gets contagious as cost plays a major factor in India. 3D TV sets are around 25 per cent more expensive than the 2D ones. On top of that, 3D glasses cost around Rs 5000 and cost plays a major factor in India. The Samsung 3D LED television with a screen size between 40 to 65 inch is priced between Rs 1,30,000 and Rs 4,35,000. The 3D LCD series, available in 46 and 55 inch screen sizes, is priced between Rs 1,29,000 and Rs 1,86,900. The 63-inch 3D plasma TV is priced at Rs 3 lakh.
There are talks that the entertainment industry would also conform itself to adopt a compatible standard for 3D home electronics to suit the 3D TV manufacturers. This could help the consumer electronics companies to increase their offerings as well increase their sales in the next two years. But the screens will have to be compatible for a mix of technologies, till there is standardization across the industry.
There are a few unresolved issues like the 3D glass, bandwidth considerations, subtitles, recording format and a Blu-ray standard. Also, while some of the 3D TVs will have the capability of converting the 2D signal to 3D, for a real 3D experience consumers need to have a 3D source, like a 3D broadcast.