Panasonic launches 3D TV – and a swag of other products

Dave Bullard
20 April, 2010
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Panasonic today launched its full-high-definition 3D home entertainment range in Australia, with a range of plasma TVs, glasses and Blu-ray players set to hit stores in June.

Speaking at this morning’s launch at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Panasonic Australia MD Steve Rust said the company’s market position was two-fold: First, to deliver high-quality 3D hardware; and second, to ensure that there will be enough 3D content to keep consumer interest high.

Rust said there are just seven titles that “have been released or are scheduled for release” for those who will pay $3299 for the entry-level plasma – the 50in TH-P50VT20A – plus $599 for the 3D DMP-BDT300 Blu-ray player. Each plasma will come with one set of 3D glasses, and extra ones can be bought for $199 each.

The 3D movies Ice Age 3 and Coraline will be bundled with the plasmas for the first three months of their release.

Panasonic uses ‘frame-sequential’ technology for its system. The 3D picture is created by displaying Full-HD images alternately for the left and right eyes. In synch with the images displayed, the 3D eyewear opens and closes the left and right shutters. Your brain then reconstructs the separate images to create the picture.

There will be TVs with bigger screens coming later in the year – 58in and 65in models in October and a 54-incher in November.

A $199 Skype camera is also available to round out the package, as Panasonic has also announced that users will be able to make Skype voice and video calls through the new models. They’ll also be able to view content from YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg and Yahoo!7. And couch potatoes will even be able to use Twitter via the TVs “in the future”.

Panasonic also must have scared the bejeebers out of Aussie retailers with its other announcements this morning: In the company’s biggest product range ever, it’s released no less than 17 new VIERA Plasma TVs, 14 new LED-lit LCD TVs, two Blu-ray recorders, three Blu-ray players, two flagship DVD recorders, a fully wireless home-theatre audio system, three Blu-ray home theatre systems and 11 DVD home theatre systems,
Oh, and a Full-HD 3D camcorder. Phew.

Australian Macworld had a guided tour of the new 3D systems, and we can say that the quality is truly impressive. There’s no discernable difference in the picture quality when you switch to 3D and put the glasses on – but the feeling of immersion, once you get over the initial novelty, is amazing.

The technology has come a long way in just a year.

The funky 3D glasses are very well designed, sitting comfortably with a slight grip on the nose and behind the ears. Even those already wearing glasses were able to wear the Panasonic ones comfortably over the top.

Panasonic will be taking its 3D technology on the road from May, showing the technology off in shopping centres around Australia. Buyers who register at the roadshows will receive a bonus pair of 3D specs via redemption after buying their 3D plasma TV.

Look out for our big TV and 3D TV roundup in the June issue of AMW – just in time to help you buy a big, new TV for the FIFA World Cup.

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