LG Display says in 3D panel supply talks with Sony

SEOUL Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:50am EST

LG Display's 3D TV sets are displayed at the company in Seoul March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

LG Display's 3D TV sets are displayed at the company in Seoul March 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

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SEOUL (Reuters) - Flat-screen maker LG Display said on Thursday it was in talks to provide 3D TV panels to Sony Corp, as it seeks to muster allies amid an intensifying feud over the 3D market with bigger rival Samsung.

Samsung Electronics and LG Group led by TV maker LG Electronics and screen maker LG Display have been embroiled in growing war of words this year since LG raised the stakes with a revamped 3D technology called film patterned retarder (FPR) to stake out a bigger claim in the 3D segment, which Samsung dominates with around 60 percent market share.

"We've explained FPR technology to our major customers. Sony is one of them and they are reviewing it," LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo told reporters on Thursday.

The current 3D technology industry standard is shutter-glass (SG) type, used by producers including Samsung, Sony and Sharp. LG Electronics makes SG-type products but plans to migrate entirely to FPR technology from the third quarter.

LG argues FPR addresses consumer concerns over blurry and flickering images, with glasses two to three times lighter than the previous bulky eyewear required for 3D viewing.

LG's rebuke comes only two days after Samsung held a news conference where its executive described LG engineers as "stupid" and LG's technology as outdated.

SG technology shows 1,080 pixels to the right eye, while blocking signals to the left eye and repeats this process to each eye to create three-dimensional images, requiring special battery-charged glasses that block and receive TV signals to process them.

By contrast, FPR sends 540 pixels to both eyes simultaneously with different images for the right and left eye which are recognised as 1,080 pixel 3D images by human brains, requiring much lighter eyewear.

"There have been so many conflicting arguments about which is the better technology, and this is only creating confusion for consumers," Kwon said.

"To end this confusion, we'll accept any request for technology reviews by consumer and expert groups, and also want our competitor to accept such requests," Kwon said.

Samsung says it doesn't see the need to request a public review because its product has already won top reviews from external panels.

Since LG first unveiled FPR early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the debate between the world's No.1 and No.2 TV makers has morphed into an ugly mudslinging match.

Last month LG angered Samsung by saying that FPR was second-generation 3D technology that the market was evolving toward. A day later Samsung held a press event where it claimed its technology was more advanced and dismissed LG's argument, describing FPR as passive-type technology that dated back to 1935.

Samsung also ran an ad campaign in which it described the technological difference between its product and its competitor's as one of "night and day."

The feud comes as TV makers, struggling with razor-thin margins and growing price competition in the commodity-type TV market, seek to capture a bigger share of the fatter-margin 3D sector.

Samsung forecasts the global 3D TV market to grow more than five fold to 17 million units this year from around 3 million in 2010.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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