The battle for 3D in the home is officially on.
On Tuesday, the same day Samsung unveiled the pricing and availability of its new lineup of 3D TVs for the U.S., Sony revealed that its 3D sets will arrive June 10, at first in Japan and soon after in other regions. Rival Panasonic's first 3D TVs begin selling Wednesday in Best Buy stores in the U.S. LG's 3D lineup arrives in May, while Vizio's is set for August.
Sony's first model will have a 46-inch screen for 350,000 yen or $3,875. That's steep compared to the non-3D equivalent TV Sony already sells for $2,100, but it is new technology. Each set will come with two pairs of 3D glasses.
All three manufacturers have been trying to ride the hype and growing popularity of 3D movies in the theater. "Avatar 3D," the highest grossing movie ever, and the recently opened "Alice in Wonderland 3D," which had an impressive first-weekend box office take, show that people are interested in 3D movies. But the test will be if they want it in their homes.
Besides the fact that the sets are relatively expensive, there are currently limited options for watching 3D content at home. More 3D movies are arriving, along with 3D-capable Blu-ray Disc players, but broadcast and cable content are still in transition to 3D. Earlier this year, Sony announced partnerships with Discovery for a 3D TV network, and ESPN has plans to add a channel of 3D content sometime this year.
In the meantime, Sony is counting on video games to drive initial sales of 3D TVs. The company hopes its 3D-capable PlayStation 3, along with 3D titles, will prompt gamers to lay out some extra cash for an extra dimension to their games.