Monday, March 8, 2010

Panasonic Rolls-out a $2000 or 50% discount on 3D TVs at Best Buy...

TOKYO—Panasonic Corp. said it will partner with Best Buy Co., America's leading electronics retailer, to place special displays promoting its new 3-D televisions at the retailer's U.S. stores, and will discount the prices of those models by close to 50%, as part of the Japanese firm's push to drive adoption of the technology.
Panasonic plans to launch its 3-D TVs in the U.S. on Wednesday. Above, a TV the company unveiled in Japan earlier this year.

Panasonic's 3-D televisions are a critical part of the Japanese electronics giant's strategy to reverse losses at its television operation, which was in the red last year and is forecast to incur a loss for the current fiscal year ending March 31. The company also hopes to revive demand for its plasma displays with its 3-D models. Plasma, which is better suited for 3-D due to its faster response, has lost ground in recent years to the more popular liquid crystal displays.

Panasonic said it aims to sell 1 million 3-D televisions in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, with half of the sales being targeted for the U.S. market. The company's president, Fumio Ohtsubo, told reporters he expects the TV business to return to profit in the next fiscal year, helped in part by 3-D television sales.

Osaka-based Panasonic said Best Buy will set up displays at several hundred of its biggest stores, where customers can try out the 3-D televisions. Best Buy will then expand the roll-out to more than 1,000 stores nationwide, according to Panasonic.

Details of the alliance between Panasonic and Best Buy first appeared in Japan's Nikkei newspaper on Sunday. Officials at Best Buy weren't immediately available for comment.

Panasonic plans to discount its 3-D models for the U.S. market. It plans to sell a 50-inch 3-D model for about $2,500. A similar set retails for about 430,000 yen, or about $4,800, in Japan.

While 3-D technology has gained popularity in theaters, electronics makers are starting to introduce new televisions and Blu-ray players to bring 3-D into the living room. Unlike past 3-D technology, which used color filters to create the 3-D effect, the latest models use battery-operated glasses that open and shutter rapidly to allow for high-definition 3-D images.

Global shipments of televisions capable of viewing 3-D video are forecast to grow to more than 1.2 million units in 2010 from about 200,000 units last year, according to research firm DisplaySearch. By 2013, shipments are forecast to rise to 15.6 million units.

This year, Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and Sony Corp.—the world's three largest television brands—are also targeting the 3-D market with new televisions of their own.

Write to Daisuke Wakabayashi at

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