SEOUL LG Electronics Inc, the world's No. 2 TV brand by revenue, set an aggressive sales target for 3D televisions, aiming to build a leadership position in an emerging market where competition is expected to heat up.
Digital 3D TVs, which use double layered images and special glasses to trick viewers into seeing 3D, are set to become the next battlefield for top TV makers, including Samsung Electronics, LG and Japanese rivals Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp.
LG aimed to sell 400,000 3D TVs in 2010 and 3.4 million in 2011, the South Korean company said at a news conference on Tuesday.
It plans to unveil a full line-up of 3D TV models with new technology improvement in the second half of next year, targeting retail consumers. LG currently offers one 47-inch 3D TV, which is sold mostly to businesses due to a high price tag.
Some analysts were still cautious about the emerging segment, citing lack of 3D content that costs about 50 percent more to make than regular versions.
"3D TV sales and 3D content will go hands in hands. Content providers will be reluctant to boost 3D production before certain number of 3D TVs are sold, and TVs won't sell well unless there's enough content available," said J.M. Hong, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.
LG's next year 3D TV target makes up a small portion of its entire TV sales. In LCD TV alone, LG expects to sell 25 million units in 2010.
Electronics and entertainment conglomerate Sony is expected to leverage its strength in content when it launches its first 3D TVs next year. Sony said last month it expected 3D TVs to account for up to 50 percent of its total TV shipments in the financial year to March 2013.
LG said it agreed to a partnership deal with Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting, known as SkyLife, which will run a second trial 3D broadcasting in January in South Korea.
Japanese makers pin hopes on 3D TVs to revive their TV business after struggling under the strong yen and stiff competition with Korean competitors. Panasonic also plans to roll out 3D TVs in 2010.
Research firm DisplaySearch forecast the 3D TV market to reach $1.1 billion in 2010 and grow sharply to $15.8 billion by 2015, according to data provided by LG.
LG Electronics shares ended up 2.2 percent on Tuesday in a flat broader market.
(Editing by Ken Wills)