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South Korea gears for 3D TV era

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D TV? LCD? TV market? display industry?

Korea's local companies are rushing into 3D device battlefield, competitively introducing new products, as full-scale war for the global as well as local 3D TV and monitor markets are expected to wage.

Bae-Keun Kang, executive director of LG Electronics, summarized the four growth keywords of the future TVs as design, network, convergence and 3D TV in the keynote address of Korea Display Conference 2009. Among these four, he prospected 3D TV to show rapid increase in sales. "Within three years, all the consumer electronics companies would get their hands on developing 3D TVs," he said.

Of course, not all share the optimistic expectation. Some local companies, including Samsung Electronics, seem to be rather cautious, thinking it will probably be two to three years or more before the 3D market really blossomed.

Samsung has taken rather cautious position about the 3D TV market, focusing on LED TV. The company thinks that 2010 TV market will continue to be dominated by LED TV. Kevin Sung, project manager of Pavonine Korea, a local 3D display company, also believed that it will take another two to three years before the 3D TV market fully opens. Sung explained that content production technology has advanced even though hardware technology hasn't changed much. Kwag, Dong-Hoon, deputy general manager of Zalman Tech, a 3D LCD monitor company, also said that it will take more than three years for 3D TV maket to boom, citing the limited content available. He said the brisk introduction of all the 3D products by the big names could be more of the showoff case than of market opening."

Despite the cautiousness, many still think the 3D is the next wave. And, like it or not, big names like Samsung and LG seem to be already in the middle of the battlefield, competitively launching their share of commercial 3D TVs.

Samsung demonstrated its technology by introducing 58-inch 3D PDP TV in IFA 2009 and 55-inch Full-HD 3D LCD TV with True 240Hz technology in KEGF 2009. With Samsung entering the market, the opening of 3D TV market is expected to accelerate.

LG seems to approach the market more positively. Up to early 2009, LG Electronics also forecasted the market wouldn't open before late 2010. But now, the company thinks market will open earlier than originally expected and is aiming at becoming a market leader, actively preparing LCD TVs, PDP TVs and projection TVs with 3D function as well as Blu-ray combo products. LG Electronics launched its 3D LCD TVs in late July 2009 and 47-inch 3D LCD TV in September 2009. LG Display also introduced a 3D panel, which can be easily switched between 2D and 3D mode.

Hyundai IT Corp., a local display company, also started marketing LCD TVs with 3D function in April 2008. The company has been producing 3D TVs for regular 3D broadcasting together with Japan's BS broadcasting company since 2008 and providing 3D broadcasting companies in England, France, etc. with its 3D TVs, too.

Local companies like Pavonine Korea, Zalman, e-MDT, Hyundai IT and A&D 3D are also entering the 3D display, relevant component and content markets.

Why 3D TV?
Companies are turning their attention to the 3D TV because, as almost all the TVs are becoming Full HD, better image quality alone will not make consumers to buy their products. In short, the 3D TV is emerging as new product differentiating factor.

The lack of 3D contents is slowly getting solved. In 3D TV, content is more important than hardware itself and, in 2010, the provision of 3D contents is expected to become more active in such fields as movie, drama, game, etc. Skylife, one of the major Korea satellite TV broadcasting companies, is launching real-time 3D TV program service from early 2010.

The development of 2D-to-3D conversion technology is likely to help alleviate the lack of 3D contents somewhat. LG Electronics plans to introduce image processing technology for turning 2D broadcasting to 3D in the first half of 2010.

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