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Panasonic: 3D TV Retail Demos Are Required

2/19/2010 12:53:00 PM Eastern
New York - Panasonic will make in-store demonstrations a mandatory requirement for retail participation in selling its forthcoming VT25 line of Full1080 3D plasma displays, slated for arrival this May and summer.

Speaking to the press following a company line review here Thursday, marketing senior VP Bob Perry said Panasonic will use retailers with strong demonstration capabilities and trained sales teams to get out the message on Panasonic's 3D system. Panasonic sees 3D as a key differentiator for plasma technology, since it has an inherently rapid switching capability that is necessary to deliver the rapidly alternating full 1080p images to each eye of viewers equipped with special active shutter glasses.

"To us, all of our retailers are really important, but if a retailer cannot properly display it we will not allow them to sell it," Perry said.

To maximize both the 3D and 2D experience on its displays, Panasonic re-engineered its plasma line this year using a new phosphor formulation and new circuit controllers that speed up switching even faster than has been possible in the past.

"We believe that when they go into retail and see our 3D plasmas, the average consumer will say, ‘That looks better,' " he said. "We aren't going to trash LCD, but are going to make sure the consumer knows that if they want the best 3D experience so far, it is going to be available from Panasonic plasma."

3D TV will be a central part of Panasonic's focus in its previously announced upcoming 15-city "mini-CES" showcase that will use three touring "show booths" with a wide range of products, to hit each of the East, West and Central regions of the country, hitting heavily trafficked venues in the nation's top designated market areas.

As originally reported by TWICE the tour is part of an intensive advertising and promotional blitz for 2010, estimated at around $100 million, that will see Panasonic spend twice as much on advertising some product categories, over the previous year, he said.

Additionally, the 15-city tour will be key in Panasonic's attempt to reach out directly to consumers in advertising this year, rather than going through various channels, as it has done previously, Perry explained.

Perry said in Panasonic's outreach on 3D, it will be playing up the benefits of the experience and not the technology itself, except to advertise "the fact that Panasonic created the standard," he said.

Perry said Panasonic will also stress its IP TV capabilities through the VieraLink platform, adding that the inclusion of Skype HD video conferencing could create "a new paradigm" for home entertainment, adding that he believes U.S. consumers are going to be very excited once they realize what it will mean to speak to grandparents and distant love ones face to face over a free system, instead of the traditional telephone.
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