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Samsung sees big jump in 3-D TV sales in 2011

- Associated Press - Thursday, February 17, 2011

SUWON, SOUTH KOREA (AP) - Samsung Electronics said Thursday it expects to sell up to 10 million 3-D TVs this year and vigorously defended the technology behind its lineup amid intensifying competition with rivals including LG Electronics.

Samsung and LG are expecting sales of 3-D sets to jump this year, with both rolling out new models and touting technologies they say enhance the 3-D experience.

Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. is the world's largest manufacturer of flat screen TVs. LG Electronics Inc., headquartered in Seoul, ranks No. 2. They also compete with Japanese companies such as Sony Corp.

Samsung's 3-D sales target, if achieved, would mark a fivefold jump from the 2 million sets sold last year. LG says it expects to sell 5 million 3-D TVs in 2011, though is not releasing its results for last year.

Yoon Boo-geun, president of Samsung's visual display business, told reporters that the company expects to rack up 3-D sales of between 9-10 million in 2011 and hailed the so-called active shutter glass technology it uses.

"The market will judge," he said. "We'll see at the end of this year."

Yoon responded to persistent questioning from reporters about the merits of differing technologies a day after LG touted its new Cinema 3-D TV, which utilizes lighter glasses without batteries that match up images optimized for each eye to result in what it says is a smoother picture.

The new LG TV utilizes so-called film patterned retarder, or FPR, technology, which LG and other companies in the LG conglomerate developed for the Cinema 3-D TV, though the foundation of it has been around for decades, a point Yoon emphasized.

"There is no technical advantage to the technology," he said of FPR, calling instead for the active shutter glass technology his company uses to be further developed.

Though manufacturers have been aggressively marketing 3-D TVs, sales have been weak. Drawbacks include the need for heavier, battery-powered glasses. The lack of content for 3-D TVs as well as consumer complaints about eyestrain, headaches and even queasiness have also been seen as damping sales.

Samsung shares rose 1 percent to close Thursday at 954,000 won ($854). LG's stock price, meanwhile, declined 3.3 percent to 118,500 won.

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