3DTVs Hit the Market

Samsung on Amazon, Panasonics at Best Buy
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MULTIPLE LOCATIONS: 3DTV sets are hitting the U.S. market. Samsung started taking preorders last month at Amazon.com. Panasonics are set to go on sale at Best Buy big boxes March 10.

Samsung beat the rest when it started offering the UN46C7000 and the UN55C7000 LED edge-lit, 1080p sets at the online retailer. The 46-inch model was priced at $2,600; the 55-inch set, $3,300. Chris Weiss of Gadgetcrave.com said the price of the larger display was the same as that of Samsung’s similar non-3D model. The same models are also now available at Crutchfield, which shows the 46-incher at $2,400, and at BuyersEdge.com, for $2,300. Sears also has the model for $2,600. All three outlets say the TV is in stock.

The 55-inch model is being shown for pre-order at Crutchfield for $3,060; OneCall.com for $3,400; and Abt Electronics for $3,300. Sears shows it in stock for $3,300.

Only Crutchfield is clear about the active-shutter glasses necessary for viewing material in 3D. Crutchfield is selling the shutter glasses separately for $150. Neither Abt nor OneCall.commentioned glasses; Amazon simply states that active-shutter glasses are required for viewing 3D content. They are not listed among the included features, along with Internet connectivity, Skype, Energy Star rating, a depth of one inch, and weight of less than 50 pounds for the larger set and 37 for the smaller one.

Sony has been taking pre-orders for its new 3D-enabled XBR-52LX900 Bravia sets since February, when it started demonstrating the TVs in 42 Sony Style stores. (The model does not show up in a search at SonyStyle.com.) Sony is selling glasses separately. J&R is also taking pre-orders for the 52-inch Bravia for $2,969; glasses are not specified.

When Panasonic 3DTV sets hit Best Buy, it will mark the advent of the technology becoming available in U.S. brick-and-mortars. The retailer is hosting a media event in New York a week from today to feature the first retail availability of a Panasonic 3D home theater system. The systems will be sold through Best Buy’s Magnolia specialty stores. Specifics, including price, were not disclosed.

Samsung is said to be hosting a press conference March 9, the day before the Panasonic-Best Buy event. Several reports indicate the company will provide more details about its 3DTV sales strategy. -- Deborah D. McAdams

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