Sony Corp said it will launch 3D televisions in Japan in June, entering an increasingly crowded field of competition for what many see as the next hot product in the electronics industry.

Sony said it would begin selling 3D TVs in Japan on June 10. The electronics and entertainment conglomerate expects a model with a 46-inch screen to sell for 350,000 yen ($3,875) and a 40-inch model to sell for 290,000 yen.

The sci-fi blockbuster Avatar and other recent titles have sparked massive interest in 3D movies, and electronics makers are now rushing to get flat panel TVs with three-dimensional visual effects to the market.

Panasonic Corp has announced plans to launch its 3D TVs in the United States on Wednesday, and cooperate with top U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co in promoting them.

Last month Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world's No. 1 TV brand, launched 3D TV sales in South Korea and said it would launch globally in March with the aim of selling at least 2 million 3D TVs this year.

Sony said it planned to launch its 3D TVs overseas around the time of the Japan launch.

Prior to the announcement, shares of Sony closed the morning session in Tokyo up 0.5 percent at 3,310 yen. The benchmark Nikkei average fell 0.3 percent.

($1=90.31 Yen)

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Hugh Lawson)