TV makers like look of little and large

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The Independent Tech

With three-dimensional televisions becoming de rigueur for home appliance manufacturers, some of the biggest names in the business are looking to tap into opposite ends of the market.

Sony Corp. announced on Thursday that it will release 32-inch, 3-D liquid crystal display television sets in March. The company said it is aiming to promote demand for smaller 3-D capable televisions, a sector that has been relatively unexploited to date.

At the other end of the scale, Panasonic Corp. announced this week that sales of its colossal 152-inch 3-D plasma display screen have exceeded expectations since it was first released in July of last year.

Despite carrying a price tag of Y50 million (€447,028) - which invariably rises to Y100 million (€894,056) when all the peripheral equipment, including tuners, and transportation costs are factored in - the company received more than 300 inquiries from around the world in the six months after it was first released. To date, 31 units have been ordered.

The majority of purchases have been made by businesses in Japan, the United States, Europe and Asia and the screens are being put to use in conference centres and showrooms. One of the giant televisions, however, has reportedly been bought by a billionaire in the Middle East for home-use entertainment.

The screen recreates life-size images of people and the 3.4-metre wide and 1.8-metre high screen is about the same size as nine 50-inch screens stacked together. Panasonic has set a target of selling 50 sets by the end of the fiscal year, on March 31.

Sony, on the other hand, believes that a television set does not have to be big to be beautiful.

"It is part of our strategy, to market 3-D accessible televisions with a wide range of uses," George Boyd, a spokesman for the company in Tokyo, told Relaxnews.

"We're looking to provide an increasing range of options across our range of TVs that give users access to a wider range of content," he said. "3-D images are a big market for game players, for example, and we don't necessarily see these new televisions as the centrepiece of a living room."

Sony's new Bravia line up have enhanced Internet connection capabilities and enable users to watch movies through the company's online movie distribution service, Qriocity, which was initially launched in Britain and Ireland late last year and goes live in Japan on January 26. The TVs are also Skype-enabled and the 32-inch EX720 series will retail at Y160,000 (€1,430) when it hits store shelves in March.

JR

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