HS Paik is the president of LG Electronics in the Gulf region. In a candid interview, Mr Paik discusses the concerns customers have had regarding LG's 3D televisions, which were first offered last year, and says how the company has tried to improve the technology since then.
q: You warn of a downside to 3D TVs. What is that?
a: The downside of 3D TV was introduced last year: shutter glasses. [Customers] were complaining of shutter glasses being heavy, and that the picture gets darker because of the nature of shutter glass technology. You have fast on and off action; it was causing dizziness, headaches for some people. Also, for most people, it was causing strained eyes when you watched for 30 minutes, an hour or two hours. LG also started with shutter glasses.
q: It must have been expensive to stop production of those glasses. I take it you have a different technology you're now trying to push?
a: Yes. We're now doing FPR [film patterned retarder] glasses. This frees you from having to wear such heavy glasses, which require batteries. The viewing angle is better; FPR technology provides 180-degree lateral viewing. It's much lighter, much less expensive.
q: How much lighter?
a: It's like about more than 40 grams [for shutter glasses] versus possibly 15 grams [for FPR]. Probably, on average, our glasses is one-third the weight. Price could be one-tenth. Nowadays, we're giving as much as 10 [pairs of glasses] per TV, instead of four. The reason we can do it is because it's so affordable.
q: What else made LG change its mind on offering shutter glasses?
a: What we wanted to provide to our customers was very clear, perfect-picture quality. But with shutter glass technology, everybody [in the industry] could not deliver 100 per cent satisfactory result. The technology was not available at the time when we launched last year, and nobody could do a better job. I think shutter glasses will be gone very soon.
q: Are they already gone for all of LG's sets?
a: For all of our LCD and LED-based TVs, with the exception of one model, it's all shifted to FPR. Clearly, by the end of this year the entire TV category will be utilising only FPR at LG.
q: I imagine it will still be a tough sell for some people who have had concerns about 3D TVs. How do you plan to address this from a marketing perspective?
a: Very soon we will provide all sorts of printed materials showing comparisons at the shops. We are training our floor salesmen to deliver the right messages. Also, right now we're conducting roadshows at malls [such as] Mall of the Emirates. We are trying to provide an experience for users before they make any decision.
* Neil Parmar