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Panasonic Outlines 3D Efforts At U.S. Open

9/01/2010 01:27:12 PM Eastern

Flushing Meadows,
N.Y. - Panasonic Consumer Electronics celebrated its first-ever 3D TV
broadcasts of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, here, highlighting its expertise
in the format, from flat panels to camcorders, Blu-ray systems and two new
FullHD 3D Blu-ray home-theater systems.


Shiro Kitajima, president of Panasonic Consumer Electronics, holds the HDC-SDT750 3D consumer camcorder at the U.S. Open event this morning.

In a varied media
presentation at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center, Panasonic reviewed its deal with the tournament, and
the 3D products currently available, and Shiro Kitajima, president of Panasonic
Consumer Electronics, told TWICE about its fall marketing plans and commented
on the state of the market.

As previously
reported, Panasonic is working with CBS Sports and the USTA to spearhead the first-ever
3D broadcasts of the tournament
. CBS Sports will produce the 3D telecasts
on Labor Day weekend and on finals weekend, Sept. 10-12.  The matches will
be made carried via DirecTV's "n|3D Powered by Panasonic" channel (103).

Panasonic will
also have three 3D viewing galleries for U.S. Open fans during the tournament.

Kitajima told TWICE
that the company will support its 3D effort this fall with a $100 million
consumer ad budget focusing on the top 15 U.S. markets. The TV part of the
campaign will begin on the CBS U.S. Open telecasts this week, and will also
involved online and print advertising, he noted.

When asked about a
recent report from Japan that said that Panasonic might not meet its goal of 1
million 3D TVs sold worldwide, Kitajima noted, "We expected that software [3D
Blu-ray movie] support would be very high but that hasn't happened." He noted
that Panasonic has "bundled movies" in its starter kits but that isn't enough.

While not
estimating what U.S. sales of 3D TVs for Panasonic might be this year, Kitajima
was pleased with the reaction to the DirecTV's "n|3D Powered by Panasonic"
channel.

Kitajima mentioned
in his prepared remarks that the company will open this fall two 3D Innovations
Centers, the first one at company headquarters in Secaucus, N.J., and later one
in Los Angeles, to develop and teach best practices for "all 3D stakeholders in
the U.S."

On the consumer
hardware side Panasonic took the opportunity to introduce two FullHD 3D Blu-ray
home-theater systems, models SC-BTT750 and SC-BTT350, shipping later this
month.

Common features of
the two systems include networking and connectivity capabilities through Viera
Cast compatibility, which provides access to online content from Netflix, Amazon
Video on Demand,, YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg TV, weather information and other
services.

The
top-of-the-line SC-BTT750 is equipped with a wireless LAN adapter, which plugs
into the USB terminal to deliver online video streaming without a LAN cable, so
the system can be installed without the need for any complicated wires.  The SC-BTT350 is wireless LAN-ready and can
be enjoyed wirelessly by linking to a Wireless LAN adaptor, DY-WL10, which
requires broadband internet service.

Both systems
deliver 5.1-channel sound and virtual 7.1-channel surround; are compatible with
ARC (Audio Return Channel), which allows receiving audio signals from the TV;
have an integrated Universal Dock for iPod/iPhone, making it easy for users to
play music and video downloads; and feature an SD memory card slot for viewing
still images, slideshows and movie files.

Pricing will not
be available until later this month, Panasonic said.

And as previously
reported, Panasonic also highlighted the HDC-SDT750
3D
consumer camcorder that comes with a 3D-conversion lens to shoot 3D
video. The camcorder ships in October with a suggested retail of $1,399.

Additionally in
its TV line Panasonic began shipping its GT25
series 3D plasma TVs last month
in 42- and 50-inch models.

Panasonic also
showed its 3D professional camcorder, discussed its 103- and 85-inch
professional flat-panel displays and a partnership with Bexel to provide 3D
camera rigs for broadcast and cable networks.