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February 23, 2010

Panasonic aims for full 3D home cinema system

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by Rapid TV News

Website: Rapid TV News

Panasonic says it will be the first manufacturer to have a full 3D home entertainment system in the public’s hands. There have been plenty of exhibition showcases, but to date zero by way of retail equipment. And Panasonic has Sony on its tail which is also promising an early release of 3D sets.

At an event in Munich last week, Panasonic again showcased its new products spearheaded by the VT20, a full HD, 3D plasma TV, initially available in 50 and 65-inch screen sizes, bundled with two pairs of active shutter glasses.

Its DMP-BDT300 3D Blu-ray player will also go on sale supported by around 15 3D Hollywood titles, expected to increase to over 30 by year-end. Broadcasters are also making available their own dedicated 3D channels this year, and 3D games are also in development.

Sony will launch 3D LCD TVs and Blu-ray disc players, and upgrades to some existing Blu-ray decks and PS3s, to make them 3D-compatible.

No prices were announced by Panasonic, but only a modest premium is expected for the 3D functionality. According to Bill Foster, a well-informed trends analyst with Futuresource Consulting, the 3D chips only cost around $20 (€15). He expects active shutter glasses to hit a $99 (€73) price point. Foster backed Panasonic’s assertion that plasma sets are better for 3D than some LCD screens because they avoid “crosstalk” ghosting.

Foster said there would be rapid 3D adoption after a slow start, driven by event-based broadcasts such as football matches or concerts, rather than end-to-end entertainment.

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