TV makers to put out 3-D sets with cheaper glasses

TV makers to put out 3-D sets with cheaper glasses (AP)
Members of the media watch Mitsubishi's 92-inch Home Cinema 3D HDTV at the CES Unveiling press event, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 in Las Vegas. Along with tablets and smartphones, 3D HDTV's will be one of the hot items at CES, which opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(AP) -- TV makers believe they could blame disappointing sales of 3-D TVs last year partly on the bulky glasses they came with. They're trying to tackle that this year by introducing sets that work with lighter, cheaper glasses of the kind used in theaters.

Manufacturers don't plan to completely supplant 3-D TVs with the heavier, battery-powered glasses that went on sale last year for the first time. But the introduction of a competing technology a year later is a sign that the first 3-D TVs didn't live up to expectations.

LG Electronics Inc. announced Wednesday that it is introducing two sets, a 47-inch and a 65-inch one, later this year that use so-called "passive" glasses. Each will include four pairs. Current 3-D sets usually include one or two pairs of "active" glasses, but some don't include any, and each pair costs about $100.

LG, a South Korean company, is the first major TV maker to announce new products on Wednesday, a day ahead of the opening of the International in Las Vegas.

Vizio Inc., one of the largest sellers of TVs in the U.S. but not a leader in the high end of the market, which includes 3-D sets, announced in December that it would sell a 65-inch 3-D set with passive glasses.

The "active" glasses are not just bulky but heavy, and they require periodic charging. They darken the image and make it flicker.

The "passive" glasses don't flicker, and as a bonus, glasses from any manufacturer will work with sets from another manufacturer, or in the theater. They darken the image, but not as much as the "active" glasses. However, in LG's implementation, the "passive" glasses cut the resolution of the image in half.

"We're meeting consumers' needs by eliminating some of the pain points" with 3-D sets, said Tim Alessi, director of new product development at LG Electronics USA. "It's going to be the most comfortable viewing experience, just like going to the movies."

Co. estimates all manufacturers combined sold 1 million 3-D sets in the U.S in 2010, far short of its initial estimate of 3 million to 4 million.

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User comments

Jan 05, 2011
Lately the crap movies and series being put out by entertainment companies aren't worth watching at all anyway, whether in 2-d or 3-d.

Lucas Arts is about the only company that really has the technology to put 3-d to good use, and they've sucked for the past 10 years. The last 4 major productions they did, i.e. the 3 star wars prequels and the 4th indiana jones movie, all sucked badly. Among the 4 films, only a few tiny fragments of the "Revenge of the Sith" movie were even remotely the same caliber as the original films.

All told, I think the entire entertainment industry has succumbed to the same lie as the 3-d video game industry, wh ich is to say "more pixels and more color depth is better than the quality of the story or the quality of the acting, dialogue, action, gameplay, coreography, etc."

When I play a game or watch a movie, I want content, not some juvenile gimmick smoke screens designed to mask the developer's lack of skill or creativity.

Jan 05, 2011
3D TV is a novelty.
Do people really want to watch their soaps and adverts in 3D, with free headeache?

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