(August 21, 2009) The HD GURU obtained Panasonic’s roadmap to large screen 3D HDTV. It includes 3D plasma HDTV displays and Blu-ray players planned to ship next year. In addition, Panasonic Japan, Twentieth Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment (James Cameron’s production company) announced today a partnership that will use the upcoming Fox 3D movie AVATAR as a vehicle to promote and launch 3D home video (PDF Link to press release).

Panasonic’s Executive Vice President Bob Perry provided the HD GURU with details about its 3D HDTVs and Blu-ray players.  He revealed there will be “multiple 3D compatible plasma models” available in 2010 with the smallest at least 50″ diagonal. The Panasonic Blu-ray 3D player will be backwards compatible with 2D Blu-ray discs as well as DVDs. Panasonic will include all 3D processing within the Blu-ray player (as opposed to an external converter) and the signal will be delivered to the 3D plasma HDTV via a single HDMI 1.4 cable (white cable in photo of prototype Blu-ray 3D player). The 3D is “Full HD” (1920 x 1080) with left and right image frames alternating at 120 Hz. Perry explained plasma is an ideal TV technology for “Full” 3D HD as its rapid refresh permits the display of the highest quality 3D images. (Current 3D flat panels show no more than half HD resolution and will only display 3D content via a PC).  Perry added he expects a three year industry transition to 3D compatible displays.

To date, Panasonic is the only TV manufacturer to announce the production of 3D displays, a system to deliver “Full HD” 3D movies and the cooperation of a major movie studio.


Panasonic has multiple studio support for its system, but Perry would not reveal specifically which ones are on-board. However, when HD GURU was shown Panasonic’s latest 3D demonstration of its prototype 103″ 3D plasma, trailers included Disney’s 3D hit “UP”. So it is a safe bet to figure Disney (along with Fox) are in Panasonic’s 3D camp.

Viewing 3D content on the Panasonic plasma requires shutter glasses. Panasonic showed its latest prototype (see photo). Unlike the passive glasses currently used in movie theaters, shutter glasses electronically “blink”, alternating the left and right eye views in sync with the content. Shutter glasses provide the highest quality 3D presentation, according to 3D industry sources.  The new glasses are comfortable and easily fit over my eyeglasses, a marked improvement over previous designs.


The Fox Connection

In a press release out of Japan, Panasonic announced details of its partnership with Fox and Camaron’s Lightstorm Entertainment. Panasonic is its exclusive audio visual partner providing products and technology to help create the live action 3D movie AVATAR. For those of you not familiar with AVATAR, the press release states “In the epic action adventure AVATAR, James Cameron, the director of TITANIC, takes us to a spectacular new world beyond our imagination.  On the distant moon Pandora, a reluctant hero embarks on a journey of redemption and discovery as he leads a heroic battle to save a civilization. ” Beginning today, the trailer can be seen in theaters nationwide and on the Internet.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox 

Panasonic will be launching a global advertising campaign tied to AVATAR. It includes a nationwide truck tour of Panasonic’s 3D plasma and Blu-ray player as well as advertising and AVATAR product sales tie-ins. AVATAR will be released to theaters worldwide on December 18. Panasonic will be showing the AVATAR 3D trailer in the truck tour, and to the trade beginning with the IFA consumer electronics show in Germany on September 4.

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