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Panasonic Unveils 3D TV Product Arsenal

LAS VEGAS – Panasonic used the sponsorship of the box-office smash 3D sci-fi adventure “Avatar” to try and cash in on a new range of 3D plasma TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and one of the industry’s first 3D camcorders, all of which will be coming to the U.S. this year.

During its International CES-eve press conference, here, the company brought out “Avatar” producer Jon Landau, who was riding high on the movie’s gross receipts that have topped the $1 billion mark in less than a month.

Landau pointed out that he James Cameron, and the film’s director/creator, originally began working with Panasonic because they were so impressed with the company’s plasma monitors, and both men are looking forward to Panasonic delivering new home 3D technologies into America’s living rooms.

On that note, Panasonic introduced its premium V-series line of full 1080p, 3D plasma sets that will be offered in the 50-, 54-, 58- and 65-inch screen sizes.

VT25 series, which is due in the spring, will include one pair of glasses based on an active LC shutter system.

The full-resolution 3D effect, which Panasonic has dubbed Full HD 3D, delivers full 1080p resolution to each eye.

The sets all employ Panasonic’s Infinite Black Panel technology for high contrast and deep black levels and Internet access through Viera Cast Wi-Fi.

To sweeten the pot, Panasonic and LG both announced here that they will be including Skype HD video conferencing capability in Internet-enabled sets this year.

In addition to the new 3D sets, Panasonic brought out an integrated 3D HD camcorder with a double-barrel lens system and its PP-BDT350 3D Blu-ray player to underscore its comment to the 3D TV category.

In a further demonstration of its 3D leadership comment, Panasonic announced it has partnered with DirecTV to help create 3D content that will be broadcast on three new 3D channels. The satellite TV service plans to introduce the channels in June, using spectrum from a recently launched new satellite.

DirecTV’s executive VP Eric Shanks said during the Panasonic press conference that the satellite will have two linear 3D channels and one video-on-demand channel to transmit sports, movies, music, documentaries and other 3D programming.

Not mentioned were any plans to support recently announced new 3D channels coming from Discovery Networks and ESPN.

Shanks said that Fox Sports would be broadcasting this year’s MLB All-Star Game in 3D.