3-D TVs Get Cheaper, as Makers Hope to Spur Buyers

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By Ian Sherr

Three-dimensional televisions are getting another “D” — discount.

Just a year ago, many 3-D TVs cost $1,000 more than regular sets. But during the recently ended holiday season, the gap halved and is set to shrink further.

Now, television makers, many of which had hoped 3-D would boost sales, are sandwiching the technology into their premium televisions while accepting a smaller premium for it. Like thinner displays, energy efficiency and high-definition, 3-D is becoming a “me-too” feature.

“Prices for 3-D TVs will definitely go down this year,” Skott Ahn, chief technology officer and president of LG Electronics Inc., said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Mr. Ahn said LG would cut the premium it charges for 3-D TVs by 20% this year and build the technology into all of its new models by 2012.

The muted expectations for 3-D television mark a U-turn from last year’s enthusiastic embrace of the technology. Television makers rushed to bring the third dimension into living rooms after witnessing the success of the movie “Avatar.” Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN unit launched sports broadcasts in 3-D. Even Gucci Group N.V. designed stylish eyeglasses for 3-D viewers, hoping to cash in on the expected popularity of the televisions.

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(Published January 6, 2011, at Dow Jones Newswires and on WSJ.com.)