Glasses set to drive the cost of 3D TVs up

Early 3D TVs' prices reveal US$800 premium, plus hefty extra cost for 3D glasses

The cost of 3D television technology is increasing even before 3D TVs hit our shores, with reports that the glasses needed to take advantage of the new technology could cost $150 a pair.

Panasonic has quoted an approximate price of £100 (about AU$173) for a pair of 3D glasses , around the same price as the $150 a pair reported online for Samsung's specs. Sony is yet to reveal a price for its 3D TVs and glasses.

Sony and Panasonic have both previewed their local 3D TV offerings, showcasing the Sony Bravia HX900 3D LED TV and the Panasonic Viera TH-P50VT20a 3D plasma TV in recent weeks.

The Sony Bravia, Panasonic Viera and Samsung 3D TVs will all use battery-powered, active glasses for viewing, adding to the cost of bringing this new technology into your home.

Providing 3D content is another hurdle facing companies when it comes to driving demand for the new technology. Sony is working with ESPN in the US on an ESPN 3D channel, as well as other productions with Discovery and IMAX.

Australian consumers will have to wait until at least April to see any 3D TV technology hit the retail shelves. According to Samsung's Australian division, the price premium between current LCD and plasma television sets and 3D TVs will be similar to the price difference between current LCD and LED screens. LED-backlit televisions currently cost 10-20 per cent more than regular LCDs.

Samsung’s 55in the UN55C7000 LED HDTV, its first 3D TV, is currently sold on for US$3299. A 55in Samsung LED TV without 3D capabilities retails on for US$2499. Looking at the US pricing model, 3D TV technology currently costs US$800 more, and that’s before you purchase the glasses and 3D content.

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Matthew Lentini

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