Despite being labelled as “outdated” by at least one major competitor, the film-type patterned retarder (FPR) 3D LCD TV technology pushed by Korean manufacturer LG Electronics has generated highly positive responses in the Chinese market, both in terms of consumer feedback and actual sales. According to the corporation’s LCD-making division LG Display, more than 100,000 units of 3D TVs equipped with FPR technology have been sold in China since launch less than two months ago.
In December last year, LG unveiled its proprietary FPR technology as a purportedly superior, “next-generation” alternative to the then-dominant active-shutter glasses (ASG) variant currently used by most TV manufacturers. A passive/ polarized 3D technology at its core, FPR is said to deliver a flicker-free tri-dimensional viewing experience, as well as allow for cheaper, lighter and more comfortable 3D glasses. LG spokesman Kim Jun-kyu revealed that in direct comparison demonstrations against ASG models, FPR-based 3D televisions were preferred by 95% of respondents from China, and 88% and 85% of those from France and the USA respectively.
To gain a first-strike advantage in the Chinese market, LG has teamed up with top local TV brands such as Hisense and Skyworth to promote its film patterned retarder technology. Although advertising has been largely non-existent (LG insists that no TV commercial has been aired), demand for FPR-fitted 3D TV sets has so far outstripped supply, causing LG to experience a shortage of FPR panels as a result of higher-than expected order numbers from the aforementioned Chinese TV makers.
LG attributed the initial sales success of its FPR 3-dimensional displays to more affordable prices and lighter 3D eyewear compared to active-shutter counterparts. Looking ahead, the Seoul-based conglomerate aims to boost its market share in the China 3D HDTV arena – more Chinese TV manufacturers like Changhong, Konka and TCL are due to launch their respective 3DTV models featuring FPR LCD technology this year. The company is also setting its sights on US and Europe, with American TV brand Vizio and Dutch consumer electronics giant scheduled to release FPR-based 3D LCDs as soon as April.