Samsung will commence selling 3D televisions throughout Australia by the end of April, with prices starting at $2400 for a full HD 50 inch plasma and $3299 for a 50 inch full HD LED LCD television. This makes the technology far more affordable than initial predictions of up to $7000. In fact, in 2009, a full HD 50 inch plasma from the company cost $2999, making it $500 more expensive than this year’s 3D model.

Samsung’s move gives it a first-to-market advantage over rivals Sony and Panasonic, whose 3D offerings are due to hit shelves from June this year. With this head start, Group Manager, AV, Samsung Electronics Australia, Evan Manolis estimates that 3D compatible sets will comprise 20–30 percent of total Samsung TV sales for 2010, and represent around 40 percent of annual sales. He anticipates that most 3D sales will comprise televisions in the 46, 50 and 55 inch categories.

Samsung’s 3D TV offering includes the LED Series 7, 8 and 9, as well as the Series 7 LCD televisions and plasma Series 7 televisions. TV prices range from $2499 to $4799, and while the 7 Series will be available from April, Series 8 and 9 models will become available from July and August respectively.

Depending on the model, Samsung’s new 3D range provides 200Hz processing, IPTV via the company’s [email protected] service, access to the Samsung app store for direct access to games and sites such as YouTube and Picasa, wireless DLNA video streaming and Skype capability.

Samsung will expand its IPTV offerings during the year with video-on-demand programming from Tivo’s IPTV service, CASPA, as well as movies from Telstra’s BigPond TV service. Like the recent LG partnership development agreement with LG announced just three days before the Samsung 3D launch, this would see movies and shows from the Australia’s biggest online entertainment catalogue streamed via a broadband connection to Samsung’s internet-enabled televisions. The IPTV service is due to be rolled out over 12 months.

Every Samsung 3D TV purchase will come with two pairs of active shutter glasses and, while stocks last, a copy of Monsters vs Aliens from Dreamworks. More 3D Blu-ray titles will be rolled out during 2010, with Samsung’s Head of Marketing, Consumer Electronics, Mark Leathan saying that around 50 should be available by mid-year. These will include the four Shrek animated features and, from September, Clash of the Titans and the blockbuster that kickstarted the current 3D thrall, Avatar.

Additional pairs of glasses can be purchased from $129, and there are two types to choose from: a battery-type model plus a rechargeable model, which is available in two sizes. The glasses work only with Samsung 3D televisions and – tit for tat – 3D glasses from other brands will not work with Samsung’s 3D televisions.

A 3D Samsung Blu-ray player will also be available from late April, at a cost of $599.