Sony, Panasonic, Others Gear Up for 3D TV Blitz

Competitor Panasonic, meanwhile, said it's planning to introduce 3D TVs at Best Buy this week for only $2,500, about half the price they're available for in Japan.

TV makers are counting on the new 3D models to spur sales and in at least one company's case, return to profitability. Sony expects its TV operations to lose money for a sixth straight year for the fiscal year ending March 31, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company has targeted sales of 15 million TVs for this fiscal year, but Yoshihisa Ishida, senior vice president of home entertainment at Sony, believes the company can hit its lofty target of 25 million units sold and be profitable next fiscal year.

"2010 is really a year when we think we can attack," Ishida said, according to the Journal.

Sony aims to sell about 2.5 million 3D TVs over the next 12 months. The first 46-inch model will go on sale in June in Japan. It hasn't announced a date for sale in the United States.

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Meanwhile, Panasonic expects its 3D TV blitz to begin this month, when customers can try out 50-inch models at Best Buy stores. Panasonic is the No. 4 HDTV maker, behind Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG Electronics Inc. and Sony, and hopes to sell 500,000 3D TVs in the United States in the first year, half its annual global sales target, according to Reuters.

Best Buy's Web site doesn't tout the Panasonic 3D TVs yet, but it has set up a page touting 3D technology and what customers can expect. "Starting March 21, over 900 Best Buy stores will have a Samsung full HD 3D experience and over 250 stores will have a Panasonic full HD 3D experience for you to demo," according to Best Buy. "As each manufacturer's 3D experience will vary to some extent, it's a good idea to view several demonstrations before making your decision."