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
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.