March 7, 2010 / 3:18 AM / 9 years ago

Panasonic, Best Buy to tie up on 3D TV sales

A pair of Active Shutter 3D glasses sit on top of a Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player during a news conference at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

TOKYO (Reuters) - Panasonic Corp will tie up with the top U.S. electronics chain Best Buy Co to market and boost the sales of its 3D TVs in the United States, the Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday.

The report comes ahead of the world’s fourth-largest flat TV maker’s launch of its 3D TV in the United States this month amid rivalry with TV makers such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp.

Best Buy will set up special exhibition corners where its customers can view 3D videos in its 300 stores in major U.S. cities. This will expand to 1,000 stores by the end of the year, the Nikkei reported.

Panasonic’s 3D TVs in the United States will be about 30 percent cheaper than those that go on sale in Japan in April, but will not have internet access capabilities. A 50-inch TV will cost about $2,500 in the United States, the Nikkei said.

The sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” and other recent titles have sparked great interest in 3D films and prompted studios to plan a stampede of new movies, boding well for 3D TVs.

Panasonic’s president said last week that its TV business will likely turn profitable in the financial year from April after two straight years of losses, thanks to cost-cutting and the launch of higher-margin 3D TVs.

The firm eyes to sell 1 million 3D TVs worldwide in the financial year to start from April, half of which will be sold in the United States, the Nikkei said.

DisplaySearch expects 9 million 3D TVs to be sold globally in 2012, still a sliver of the current worldwide TV market of about 200 million sets.

Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Bill Tarrant

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