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Panasonic Demos 3-D Plasma/BD System

Panasonic highlighted what it called “the world’s first 3-D full HD plasma theater system” and a 150-inch 1080p plasma display, billed as the world’s largest, at its CEATEC booth, here, earlier this month.

Panasonic, which changed its global corporate name from Matsushita Electric Industrial to Panasonic this month (the company’s 90th anniversary, see story p. 32), used an enclosed theater setup in its booth to present 3-D images that were viewable wearing special glasses, from a modified Blu-ray Disc player/recorder.

The system presented movies and video sequences with dramatic high-resolution pictures and 3-D special effects.

The featured system included the company’s 103-inch full HD 1080p plasma set and a prototype Blu-ray Disc player that accepts specially encoded Blu-ray discs carrying 3-D images. These discs include two fields of left- and right-sided 1080p full HD images.

The 3-D effect is produced when viewing the images through active shutter glasses that work in synchronization with the plasma display. Images are said to contain twice the volume of information as regular full HD images.

The system enables full HD signal processing on each of the left and right-sided images during recording, playback and display, Panasonic said. The company said that unlike other 3-D video approaches, Panasonic’s method is capable of displaying a quality level equivalent to the original Hollywood 3-D movie master.

The company said the 3-D Blu-ray disc-authoring process was developed by its Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL).

The demonstration was presented as a technology statement at this point, the company said, with no firm plans for actual product introductions until 3-D standardization has been determined.

Panasonic said it will work to promote the technology for standardization through the Blu-ray Disc Association, with the cooperation of the Hollywood studios and consumer electronics company members.

Meanwhile, the mammoth 150-inch plasma set on display at the show was expected to begin production through the company’s next-generation PDP factory, which is scheduled to come on line in May 2009. The first 150-inch production models are expected sometime in 2010.

Initially, executives said they expect the product to be sold into professional and commercial markets before targeting elite high-end consumer audiences. Suggested retail pricing was not disclosed.