Samsung takes clear lead in 3D TV competition (first photos)

Analysis by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The future will arrive next week: that was the key message from Samsung Australia, who today gazumped all its 3D TV rivals by announcing the availability of its new models from the week of 19 April 2010.

Not only will these TVs be in store before either Panasonic or LG have even launched their ranges, Samsung has also beaten Sony to retail by almost three months.

At today’s launch, which incorporated all of Samsung’s 2010 TV ranges, not just 3D, head of marketing, consumer electronics division, Mark Leathan said Samsung will be “setting a new standard” in TV supply. Unlike Sony, which is exclusively LCD, and Panasonic, which will only release 3D in plasma, Samsung is releasing 3D across all three of its screen technologies: plasma, LCD and LED LCD.

This strategy is part of a 3-pronged approach for the Korean supplier, which is looking to be first to market, attractively priced and offering the most choice to consumers. Thus far, it is achieving all three goals.

In this instance, Samsung has succeeded almost in spite of itself. Today’s event was supposed to be held two weeks ago, but was postponed due to lack of product. By having the event so close to the retail sales date, Samsung will be able to ride a wave of publicity and positive sentiment to the store counter. In addition, having the event only eight days before Panasonic’s means the Japanese supplier has less time to re-evaluate its plans based on today’s announcement.

The 3D vision itself is good, although it is hard to declare it better or worse than Sony’s or Panasonic’s TVs, the second of which has been viewed on a prototype model. Attending media watched an extended clip of Monsters vs Aliens 3D, which did have an enhanced depth and noticeable 3D elements. Leathan said Samsung’s models will also be able to convert 2D convert up to 3D, though he conceded that quality will not be as good as purpose-made 3D vision.

The pricing of these models was especially significant. Samsung will be releasing an entry level Full HD 3D plasma for RRP $2,499. This will come bundled with two 3D glasses (normally RRP $99-$129, depending on the power source), but consumers will still need to purchase a 3D Blu-ray player in order to watch movies. Samsung released one for RRP $599 today, meaning that at RRP level, the total spend for a consumer will be just under $3,100, though this figure should come down when retail competition is factored in.

Panasonic is having its official 3D launch next Tuesday in Melbourne. LG has yet to give any indication as to its 3D TV range.


Samsung head of marketing, consumer electronics division, Mark Leathan reveals the new 3D TV.

Samsung's proprietary 3D glasses: RRP $99 for battery operated and $129 for USB rechargable.

This is what Samsung's app/IPTV interface looks like. Later this year, Telstra BigPond TV will become available.

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