Panasonic Aims for 3D TV Dominance
Panasonic touts its leadership in the whole 3D TV chain from content production to TVs and sources; demos 50-inch 3D TV, production equipment, Avatar the movie
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“It is easy to make a big screen,” says Panasonic’s Hiroshi Miyai of the company’s original 100-inch 3D plasma. Smaller sets like Panasonic’s prototype 50-inch display are a bigger challenge.
October 06, 2009 by Julie Jacobson

Fellow presenter Mayuki Kozuka, GM of Panasonic’s Storage Devices Business Strategy Office, says, “We are targeting volume so it wouldn’t be that expensive,” and then quipped that he hoped Miyai’s group could deliver.

When pressed about 3D’s price premium over standard HDTVs, Kozuka indicated that “multiples are not really possible for the consumer market, particularly double multiples.”

Miyai added, “We’ll be slightly in the middle of lines,” meaning Panasonic’s lower-end and higher-end TV lines.

Behind the Scenes, Beyond TVs
Panasonic says its leadership in 3D extends far beyond the quality of its displays.

It starts with standards. Panasonic claims to be behind many of the specifications proposed/adopted for 3D over HDMI and 3D for Blu-ray.

Even while standards were being debated, however, Panasonic established the Panasonic Hollywood Authoring Center in February of this year to support Hollywood studios in developing 3D Blu-ray titles.

Of all of the notable CE manufacturers, “We were the first to make full-fledged efforts in this area,” says Kozuka, who oversees the Hollywood center. “We’ve been working with directors from the very beginning. … 3D requires different types of shooting.”


Panasonic Hollywood Labs 3D demo room

To that end, Panasonic announced in April 2009 the development of a professional 3D Full HD production system, which the company calls “the first of its kind in the industry.”

At the heart of the system is a new twin-lens 3D camera system. Before such a system, 3D content producers hand-built their own 3D product systems by physically connecting multiple 2D production devices. The production suite includes a 3D mobile recorder. Both the concept camera and recorder are on display at CEATEC.

Avatar: Big 3D Production
Perhaps Panasonic’s biggest 3D endeavor to date is its collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox on the forthcoming 3D movie Avatar, directed by James Cameron. The movie is expected to be released Dec. 18, 2009.
That movie alone, “will accelerate the proliferation of 3D” in the home, says Kozuka, echoing the sentiment of several Panasonic executives.

Excerpts of the movie are being shown by Panasonic during CEATEC. A/V journalists on a press tour of the show seemed overwhelmingly to pick Panasonic as the best 3D demo at the show (disclaimer: Panasonic paid for our travels)..

Through the entire cycle of 3D from production to the living-room, Panasonic is bent on being the brand behind the experience.

“A lot of people think Blu-ray is Sony,” Kozuka says. “We believe 3D is Panasonic.”

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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