3-D TV competition heating up with Sony as LG will begin selling it.

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LG Electronics Co., the world’s second-biggest television maker by revenue, said Tuesday it will roll out a range of 3-D TVs, hoping to grab a head start in a product niche where fierce competition is expected.

The company also announced a strategic partnership with Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting, known as Skylife, to “map the standards for 3D images ranging from technologies, to devices and broadcasting content,” Paik Woo-hyun, LG’s president and chief technology officer, told a press conference.

Participants wore special glasses at LG Electronics’ 3D TV strategy presentation in Seoul Tuesday.

Manufacturers are looking to the 3-D segment to boost profits at a time when flat-panel TV prices have sunk and discount brands are eroding market share.Sony Corp. last month outlined details of an effort to prop up its slumping electronics business by focusing on 3-D, which it said will account for up to half the TVs it sells in three years. The Japanese company said it sees strong potential in videogames in particular.

DisplaySearch, an Austin, Texas-based market research firm, forecasts the global 3-D TV market to amount to $1.1 billion in sales next year and rise to $15.8 billion in 2015.

LG said next year it will offer 3-D liquid-crystal-display TVs ranging from 42- to 72-inches in screen size. It will also offer a 110-inch 3-D projector TV next year.

Executives said LG expects to be able to charge several hundred dollars more for TVs that are capable of displaying 3-D images as well as standard 2-D pictures. They set a sales target of 400,000 units of 3D TV next year and 3.4 million units in 2011. The company sells approximately 20 million TVs annually.

LG offered its first consumer 3-D TV, a 47-inch LCD model, in August in South Korea. It also sells models to commercial customers in the U.S.

The company’s partnership with Skylife is partly an effort to jumpstart 3-D content development in South Korea, which is lagging behind media companies in Japan, the U.S. and elsewhere. Skylife said it will invest 30 billion won ($25.9 million) by 2012 to produce 3-D programs, including movies, sports and English-language education. LG didn’t say how much it would invest.

The satellite service provider will start trial 3-D broadcasting next month over a special channel, dubbed “Sky 3-D,” that will provide 24-hour service.

TV makers are emboldened by the strong box-office performance of recent 3-D movies, including Disney Co.’s “Up” and Sony’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” and a full pipeline of future 3-D films, including the soon-to-be-released “Avatar.”

JAEYEON WOO (Wall Street Journal Tech)

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