Chris Nuttall Sony still aims to win 3D World Cup

Sony and Spain have their eyes on the prize of world domination in 3D and soccer respectively, with the former treating media to a viewing of the latter’s World Cup semi-final victory on Wednesday on two 60-inch Sony Bravia 3D TVs.

But executives still faced questions about whether competitors were more on the ball, with Sony tackling them later and pricing 3D higher.

Its rivals Samsung and Panasonic began selling 3D TVs in March; Sony opened up pre-sales at its Sony Style stores in the US on June 9. Its cheapest 3D-ready set is a 40-inch model at $2,100 (not including glasses and 3D transmitter).

In comparison, a 46-inch Samsung 3D-ready plasma TV can be had for as low as $1,250, while Mitsubishi has been selling large screen 3D TVs since 2007 and its current 60-inch 3D DLP Home Cinema TV sells for $1,200.

Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics US president, told the media event in San Francisco that Sony could have shipped at the same time as Samsung and Panasonic, but it wanted to demonstrate the technology to consumers first and get feedback – to date more than 2m demos have been given in its Sony Style stores.

“We didn’t feel that being first was as critical as really having the best possible experience for the consumer,” he said.

“Our goal is not necessarily to make the cheapest product, it’s to make the best product,” he added.

Executives were asked about what share Sony might achieve of the 100m 3D sets it expects to be sold over the next three years.

“We expect to be the worldwide market leader in 3D, period,” said Mr Glasgow.

Sony provided a list of 24 3D-enabled products available now or by September – TVs, Blu-ray players, home theatre systems, sound bars and receivers.

Pre-sales of TVs in Sony Style stores had been strong, it said.

“We’re happy with that and one of the reasons is that the predominant number of pre-sales has been in the larger screen sizes – 55- and 60-inch moving out of the door means a higher average selling price and a great experience,” said Chris Fawcett, vice president of Sony’s US TV business.

The $5,000 Bravia XBR-60LX900 Edge LED LCD HDTV that we watched the game on is the flagship model with a 60-inch screen, 240Hz refresh rate, two active-shutter glasses included and a 3D transmitter built into the bezel.

I was impressed by the clarity of the picture and the depth of the 3D effect, as well as the wide viewing angle.

The wraparound design of the glasses – to limit ambient light – did diminish the social experience though – I did not have the peripheral vision to sense what others were feeling about the game….although Spain’s winning goal did provoke a very audible shout.