TV chief says LG's film-based 3D technology outdated
A model poses with Samsung’s advanced 3D TV that allows users to download various applications from the Internet during an unveiling ceremony in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday. / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics
By Kim Yoo-chul
SUWON, Gyeonggi Province ― Debates concerning the competitive edge of leading three dimensional (3D) TV technology are flaring up.
3D has already emerged as the next big thing for TV majors, which are eager to find their next revenue source.
With help from Japan's Sony, Samsung Electronics is pushing its shutter glass (SG) 3D technology Its biggest cross-town rival LG is hoping to break the current Samsung lead by promoting film-type patterned retarder (FPR) 3D technology.
LG's FPR has been known to have some merits in terms of little flicker or cross-talk ― the major criticisms of SG. But the chief of Samsung's TV division stated that FPR is outdated.
"LG Electronics is saying that its FPR is the next technology in the 3D world, but that isn’t right since it was developed in the 1930s," said Yoon Boo-keun, who leads Samsung's TV business, Thursday.
Samsung launched a new line of full high-definition (HD) 3D TVs that help viewers get better access to online content and use social networking services at its R&D compound in Suwon, on the outskirts of Seoul.
"The film-based technology would give some advantages in cost, but that's all. FPR won't realize full HD images as it has technological limitations, limiting its use to small-sized digital devices," said the TV chief.
Excessive flicker has been the source of complaints for eye fatigue and poor picture quality, as well as health concerns such as photosensitive epilepsy. Samsung’s Yoon said it’s seeing substantial improvements in diminishing the flicker.
"Cross-talk and flicker were cited as the disadvantages of SG, but we did make a significant improvement. Viewers will see clear and comfortable 3D images thanks to the updates," added the executive.
FPR clip-on shades are available for prescription glasses, replacing the need to wear two sets of glasses with SG displays.
SG glasses are being questioned for the restriction of flexible head movement, which cause the glasses to go dark, while FPR technology allows users a fuller range of movement such as lying down on a sofa without losing the 3D picture, according to evaluations in the market.
"Samsung also boosted the comfort of its glasses. Let's see what happens," Yoon told reporters by reiterating its virtual win for edge-lit-based LCD televisions with light-emitting diode (LED) as backlight over full LCD LED TV by its local rival.
"Media reports say the top two TV firms have been involved in heavy fights for the 'standardization war' in 3D technology. What's important is receiving favorable reviews from consumers," said the TV chief.
"I want to recommend consumers buy both SG-based and FPR-based 3D TVs and compare the specifications."
A senior LG Electronics spokesman declined to comment.
During the press conference, Yoon said Samsung will strengthen the tie-up with content providers to further boost its 3D TV-related businesses.
Samsung said it is planning to release a 3D video-on-demand (VOD) service starting from next month, allowing users to gain access to full high definition 3D versions of around 50 videos.
According to research firms, Samsung claimed over half of the 3D TV market in the United States and Europe last year, at 62.9 percent and 56.4 percent, respectively.
"It might be difficult for the TV industry to see drastic rises in terms of demand. We will focus on quality not quantity," said the company executive.
Asked about this year's sales targets, Yoon said Samsung will maintain its target at 45 million ― 22 million from LCD LED TVs, 18 million from LCDs and 5 million from plasma TVs.
"Markets say the targets were quite conservative, but this year will be crucial for Samsung to see qualified growth. We have no reason to sell more by enduring a decline in profit margins," the head said.
Samsung said its advanced TV line, which comes in 46-inch and 55-inch, is part of its attempt to grab a larger share of the blooming smart TV market. Samsung aims to sell 12 million Web-connectivity TVs this year.
The global demand for 3D televisions will soar this year as more customized content and lineups are forecast.