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CES 2010: Panasonic 3D Bonanza

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Last year at CES Panasonic announced that it would be bringing 3D TV to market in 2010 and today the company made good on its promise, eventually. Unfortunately I had to sit through 40 minutes of posturing about 3D being the future, before getting to the five minutes of actual product information.

Anyway, moaning aside, today Panasonic announced its Viera V series plasma TVs, all of which support Full HD 3D. I’d like to tell you what sizes these 3D TVs come in, but rather than hand out a USB key with a Press kit on it, Panasonic decided to just give the Press a piece of cardboard with a web address on it. Downloading a press kit would be fine, apart from the fact that the CES Press Room is so terrible this year, that getting online at all is a miracle, and if you do manage to get an Internet connection you’re treated to sub-dialup speeds. Consequently I haven’t managed to download the 186MB Press kit, but I’m trying!

What I can tell you about the 3D Plasmas is that they come in two flavours, V25 and V20, although I can’t say what the differences are between the two. They’re both THX certified, but I’m unsure as to whether the TV will be able to configure itself from a THX certified Blu-ray disc, or even download configuration data from the Internet.

The V series plasmas do have integrated Wi-Fi, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to download THX data. Of course the Wi-Fi makes it even easier for you to stream content directly to the TV via Panasonic’s Viera Cast service. I’m also assuming that you’ll be able to stream video from any DLNA device on your home network, but I can’t be sure, since I’ve still got another two and a half hours to wait before the Press kit downloads.

Oh hang on, I’ve found a link to the Press releases online, although there’s still no sign of any product images. Anyway, it appears that the Viera V25 series will come in 50in, 54in, 58in and 65in flavours. The Viera V20 series comes in 50in and 54in varieties, but I’m still none the wiser as to what separates to two other than screen sizes, since the feature lists seem to be identical. Both have a native (not dynamic as you’ll see on LCD TVs) contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, USB ports with support for keyboard inputs and 600Hz sub-field drive.

Of course to make use of a 3D TV, you’ll need some kind of 3D source and Panasonic also announced the launch of the PP-BDT350. ThisBlu-ray player is designed to hook up to the new Viera V series TVs via its HDMI 1.4 port, thus delivering a true 3D source. Of course you’ll need some 3D software to make all this hardware worth investing in, but no doubt 3D Blu-rays will start to grow in numbers throughout 2010.

Panasonic also showed off the world’s first dual-lens, 3D camcorder. There was no word on pricing or availability, but I can’t imagine it will come cheap. It seems that just as with HD, Panasonic is intent to offer the complete package for 3D video, from display, to source to creation.

I’ve got a meeting scheduled with Panasonic on Saturday, so hopefully I’ll be able to get some pictures of all the new kit then, while also fillng in some of the blanks on the products above. If only Panasonic UK had sent Steve Lucas out here like last year, then I’d no doubt have had all the pictures, assets and information I needed before I left the Press conference. Plus, I might have got some idea as to what the UK equivalent of the new TVs and Blu-ray players will be. Oh well, maybe next year.

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