Sony said Tuesday it will start selling 3D televisions in June, joining a competitive industrywide push to convince consumers to embrace the technology for their living rooms.
The Japanese electronics giant, known for its PlayStation 3 game consoles and Bravia flat-screen TVs, will offer its fully capable 3D TV model in four sizes this summer.
3D TV: Will you be first in line?
The 40-inch and 46-inch versions will go on sale on June 10 in Japan, while the 52- and 60-inch TVs will be available starting July 16.
Although the company did not release a global launch date, Sony senior vice-president Yoshihisa Ishida said the new TVs will hit stores in the U.S. and other countries around the same time.
The 40-inch 3D will cost the equivalent of about $3,300 Cdn, and the biggest 60-inch will retail at $6,650.
Included are two pairs of Sony's 3D glasses, as well as a camera sensor on each unit that will adjust sound and picture quality based on viewers' positions. A remote control button enables the switch from a regular 2D image to 3D.
Sony hopes 10 per cent of the 25 million TVs it aims to sell next fiscal year will be 3D units.
CEO Howard Stringer has said the Tokyo-based company aims to be profitable in flat-panel TVs and gaming next fiscal year, and is pushing 3D technology as a key strategy. Interest in 3D has accelerated recently with the help of three-dimensional blockbusters such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, which earned a record $116.3 million in its opening weekend.
Ishida described the current fiscal year that began last April as a difficult period that forced Sony to focus on restructuring and reversing losses.
"We will go on the offensive in 2010," he said at a press conference in Tokyo.
But the same rivals that Sony has struggled against in recent years, such as South Korea's Samsung Electronics, are making similar bets in 3D and other technologies.
Samsung, the world's bestselling TV maker, began selling 3D units in South Korea last month and aims to move two million worldwide this year. Panasonic is partnering with Best Buy to fuel sales of its own 3D TVs, which launch in the U.S. on Wednesday.
To stand out, Sony plans to exploit its strengths in entertainment, gaming and other products to offer customers a broad selection of 3D content. The company will release a firmware update to its PlayStation 3 console this summer, making three-dimensional gaming a reality.
"By strengthening the relationships between our content and other products, we aim to create a uniquely Sony world," Ishida said.
Sony will offer two additional, lower-priced models with 3D functionality. Customers, however, will need to buy a transmitter and 3D glasses separately. The transmitter will cost $57 and the glasses about $138 each.
Sony's 3D glasses use a different technology than those seen in movie theatres. The glasses have electronic shutters that open and close more than 100 times per second, alternately allow light through the left and right lenses. The transmitter synchronizes the shutters in the glasses with the images on the TV screen.