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Panasonic, Samsung Take Manhattan For 3D TV Launches

3/23/2010 04:26:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — The Big Apple
may or may not be the center
of the civilized world, as “Avatar”
director James Cameron dubbed
it this month, but it was certainly
ground zero for the launch of 3D
TV as rivals Samsung and Panasonic
squared off with dueling
kickoff events to officially begin
their respective 3D TV marketing
blitzes.

Both manufacturers staged
elaborate showcases in Manhattan
that drew throngs of reporters
and TV crews for the introduction
of their first 3D HDTVs
and Blu-ray Disc systems.

Panasonic one upped the industry
by enlisting major retail
chain Best Buy to sell the first
Panasonic FullHD 3D TV and
3D Blu-ray system for a limited
exclusive run. Later that evening
Samsung presented a surprise
concert in Times Square by the mega pop group The Black Eyed Peas,
preceded by an introduction from Cameron,
who said he was there to help celebrate
the launch of Samsung’s global 3D
HD LED TV campaign in support of
the first sets that had launched the previous
day.

Further, Cameron said would record
the BEP concert using the same cameras
(made by Sony) his production partner
Vince Pace helped design to shoot
“Avatar.”

Samsung had arranged to use the footage
from the event as well as from the
BEP’s The E.N.D. World Tour exclusively
for use by Samsung customers.

Ironically, before becoming a mega
blockbuster, “Avatar” had been used as a
promotional vehicle by Panasonic, which
helped sponsor the film and used its
trailers last fall to begin Panasonic’s prelaunch
3D TV hype.

Sony, which has touted its leadership
in end-to-end 3D creation, distribution
and in-home entertainment system design,
had touted the use of Sony cameras
on the film.

And speaking of “Avatar,” 20th Century
Fox Home Entertainment officially
announced last Tuesday that it will
launch the movie in a Blu-ray Disc plus
DVD combo back on April 22. The
studio still has not announced a formal
release plans for the 3D Blu-ray Disc version,
as it awaits more 3D equipment to
reach market.

Samsung also brought DreamWorks
Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg to New
York to help kick off the 3D LED TV
launch. Katzenberg revealed that in addition
to offering a 3D Blu-ray Disc copy of
DreamWorks’ “Monsters vs. Aliens” in a
special “3D starter kit,” the studio would
be providing Samsung with the 3D Bluray
releases of the complete “Shrek” movie
collection later.

The Samsung starter kit includes two
pair of 3D glasses and the movie disc and
will be free with the purchase of both a
Samsung 3D TV and Samsung 3D Bluray
Disc player or home-theater system.

And as reported last month (see
TWICE, Feb. 22, p. 1), Panasonic kicked
off its 15-city “Touch the Future Tour”
in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago
March 15, which is part of its $100 million
promotional effort to make retailers and
consumers more aware of the brand.

3D TV takes top billing on the tour
which runs through April and will appear
in popular, high-traffic venues in
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami,
Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia,
San Francisco, Seattle, Washington and
in Scottsdale, Ariz. A complete listing of
event locations and dates can be found at
www.panasonic.com/future.

On the 3D demonstrations, Panasonics
marketing senior VP Bob Perry said,
“For many people, this will be the first
opportunity for them to experience for
themselves the immersive world of Full-
HD 3D. People who have already had
the chance to see one of our demos have
been amazed at the depth and sense of
being there that FullHD 3D delivers. It
is something they won’t want to miss.”

As part of the tour, Panasonic is holding
the Touch the Future Tour Sweepstakes,
which will award one visitor (18
years of age or older as of March 15,
2010) in each of the 15 cities on the tour a
FullHD 3D home-theater system featuring
a Panasonic FullHD 3D Viera plasma
HDTV, Panasonic 3D Blu-ray Disc
player and one pair of Panasonic Active
Shutter eyewear.