Panasonic's first 3-D TV set in $2,900 package

Wed, 03/10/2010 - 7:10am
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Panasonic Corp. on Wednesday revealed the price for its first 3-D TV set, confirming that $3,000 is about what it takes to be among the first to watch 3-D movies in the home.

The Japanese company put its first 3-D sets on sale at an event in New York on Wednesday. Panasonic's suggested retail price is $2,900 for a 50-inch plasma set, one pair of glasses and a 3-D Blu-ray player. An extra pair of glasses costs $150.

South Korean competitor Samsung Electronics Co. announced Tuesday that its 3-D sets would go on sale this week. For $3,000, buyers get a 46-inch set, two pairs of glasses, a 3-D Blu-ray player and a 3-D copy of "Monsters vs. Aliens." There's also a 55-inch set available – it's $3,300 for the set alone.

Both manufacturers plan to expand their 3-D lines rapidly. Rivals are on their heels: LG Electronics Inc. plans to put its 3-D sets on sale in May, and Sony Corp. is bringing out its 3-D sets this summer.

Sony will offer its fully capable 3-D TV model in four sizes this summer. The 40-inch and 46-inch versions will go on sale on June 10 in Japan, while the 52- and 60-inch TVs will be available starting July 16.

Although the company did not release a global launch date, Sony senior vice president Yoshihisa Ishida said the new TVs will hit stores in the U.S. and other countries around the same time.

The 40-inch 3-D will cost about 290,000 yen ($3,200), and the biggest 60-inch will retail at 580,000 yen ($6,400).

Included are two pairs of Sony's 3-D glasses, as well as a camera sensor on each unit that will adjust sound and picture quality based on viewers' positions. A remote control button enables the switch from a regular 2-D image to 3-D.

There's a dearth of movies on 3-D discs, but studios are rushing to put them out. On Wednesday, Twentieth Century Fox, the studio arm of News Corp., said it would make "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" its debut title in 3-D Blu-ray.

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