James Cameron has announced in a video that his movie Avatar will soon be made available on Blu-ray 3D available worldwide and not only as a bundle for Panasonic. There is not yet an official released date announced, but it should be no later than the holiday season this year, so the wait is almost over. And considering Avatar is one of the 3D movies that you should simply have on Blu-ray 3D in your collection this release will probably generate a lot of extra revenue for the franchise. Even now you can purchase Avatar on Blu-ray 3D off eBay for example, but at a premium price for a disc that was bundled with a Panasonic TV set.
Earlier this year the agreement for the exclusive distribution of Avatar on Blu-ray 3D with Panasonic has ended, so it was to be expected that the movie will be made available on Blu-ray 3D for worldwide distribution. The exclusive deal with Panasonic probably has helped a lot the company to promote and sell their 3D-capable products, much more than the competition that also had 3D movie bundles – movies with much less consumer interest and hype surrounding them. I personally bought a Panasonic 3D HDTV, but not because of the Avatar bundle and not with Avatar bundled – I just wanted a great 3D-capable TV set and I’ve got what I’ve wanted (VT20E). But I suppose many people considered going for Panasonic, because this way they could also watch Avatar at home in 3D, actually anyone here bought a Panasonic 3D HDTV because of the Avatar bundle?
Update: Apparently the wait is almost over as Avatar Blu-ray 3D Collector’s Edition will debut globally starting October 15th, the debut in North America is set for October 16th and it is already up for pre-order.
Panasonic’s 3D-capable Plasma HDTVs are still considered among the best for stereoscopic 3D use and each year the company is improving and adding new features in their new lineup and now it is time for the 2012 lineup. There is of course a new top model – the VT50 Series, that will offer all the top features and it will be only available in 55-inch and 65-inch configuration, but also four more new 3D-capable series – GT50, ST50, UT50 and XT50 as well as just one non 3D-capable series – the U50. The focus of the new 2012 lineup is of course the Smart functionality that should make the TV set way more functional and go beyond just a TV, but the 3D capabilities and image quality are also among the key points and the new and improved Plasma panels should bring better quality in stereoscopic 3D mode as well.
The 2012 models employ NeoPlasma Black 2500 provide a crisp image even when the content shows very fast motion. The 2012 panel further reduces reflections and creates sharper pictures with higher contrast in brighter environments. In addition, a new panel structure and pre-discharge control technology contribute to an increased native contrast level. Additionally, all the 3D models include DLNA connections for easy link-up to other DLNA equipped products. Improved power efficiency has been addressed with, among other technology advances, new and improved phosphor mixtures and more efficient electronics.
The six VIERA Plasma series, VT50, GT50, ST50, UT50, XT50 and U50 (the only 2D one), feature self illuminating panels with ultimate black levels, NeoPlasma technologies (VT/GT/ST) providing a black filter with a higher efficiency panel that generates the best balance of black and white under brighter environments. The new Louver filter and new high performance panel result in improved external light shading, improved clarity and improved light transmittance. The 2012 models employ the NeoPlasma Black 2500 (VT/GT/ST/UT), a 6,220,800 pixel cells FULL local dimming, 24,576 steps of gradation technology (VT/GT) (previously only available in professional monitors), a new custom driver LSI and a fast switching phosphor panel on all of Panasonic’s 1080p 3D models. Panasonic also continues its relationship with THX with six Full HD 3D Plasma HDTVs, certified in both 2D and 3D mode by the prestigious company founded by George Lucas. THX certification indicates to the consumer that the picture quality has been certified to meet the stringent standards of Hollywood’s top film makers.
All in all what you should expect from the new 2012 lineup of 3D-capable Plasma HDTVs from Panasonic is better image quality – brighter picture, higher contrast, richer colors, better external light blocking and faster response. And when all this is applied in stereoscopic 3D mode you should get even nicer looking and realistic image with less crosstalk. The built-in media player should also be further improved to support more formats. What is not mentioned however is if the new 2012 lineup of 3D-capable Plasma HDTVs from Panasonic will use higher bandwidth-capable HDMI 1.4 chips, so that you could be able to run them in 1080p 30Hz 3D mode or even 1080p 60Hz 3D mode as this is something that will immediately make them way more attractive for stereo 3D gamers and not only for 3D movie lovers. Hopefully we’ll get more details about the extra questions that arise as soon as the first reviews of the new 2012 product line start to appear online.
Panasonic used this year’s IFA trade show to announce and show an interesting prototype of a device they are working on, a twin-lens compact 3D digital camera that will go under the company’s LUMIX product line. The Panasonic Lumix 3D camera may as well turn out to be the closest competitor to Fujifilm’s 3D digital cameras that are already available for quite a while now, but we are probably going to have to wait at least a few months before the Lumix 3D camera hits the market. Still it is good news for everyone that is interested in a compact 3D-capable digital camera, as having more devices on the market with different features is a good thing, right? And although Panasonic is still not releasing a lot of details about the capabilities of the device, they let out a few pieces of information. One very important thing however was left out – the interaxial distance between the to lenses of the camera, but judging from the photos of the device it seems to be something in between 3 and 4 centimeters (1.2 – 1.6 inches). So the distance will for sure be shorter than what we already have on the Fuji 3D camera, meaning more flexibility for closer 3D photos and videos and more flatness when you want to capture more distant objects.
According to Panasonic their compact 3D camera will be capable of taking 3D still photos (most likely in MPO format) and 3D HD video (recorded in Side by Side AVCHD format). It is using 4x zoom lenses with folding optics and optical stabilization for achieving better results when shooting both still photos and video. There is no information available yet about the display of the camera, but it will most likely be an autostereoscopic 3D solution as this makes the most sense. And of course the camera will feature HDMI 1.4 support for connecting and playing the 3D content to a large screen 3D-capable HDTV. If you are visiting the IFA trade show you may go and also visit the Panasonic booth at Messe Berlin, Hall 5.2 where the new 3D digital camera prototype should be on display (until September 7th). And if you do so you and find some other interesting details about the Lumix 3D camera, then feel free to share them in the comments below…