updated 08:40 pm EST, Wed January 7, 2009
Panasonic 3D HD at CES
At its CES press conference on Wednesday and a day ahead of the show's official opening day, Panasonic North America's CEO Yoshi Yamada announced the company will work on integrating a 3D HD 1080p standard for TVs, kicking off with a 3D Blu-ray disc by 2010. To reach the goal, the company is working with Hollywood film producer James Cameron who is using Panasonic's specialized gear to film his upcoming blockbuster, Avatar, using the 3D HD tech. The company announced it will also launch its Panasonic Hollywood Advanced Authoring Center (PHL-AC) on February 1st.
Demonstrations of the system, comprised of a plasma 3D Full HD home theater system, a 3D-ready digital cinema projector displaying images on a 380-inch screen theater and a 3-D ready MPEG-4 AVC High Profile encoder collectively called 3D Full HD (3D FHD) will be held throughout CES' duration.
The company also showed a prototype plasma display panel (PDP), the Z1, sized at 54 inches that is just 1-inch thick and uses a wireless connection to communicate with a satellite set-top that includes all cable connections. No pricing information or expected launch dates were discussed.
A partnership with Comcast will have the cable provider's digital set-top boxes compatible with Panasonic's VIERA link to allow the use of one remote to control the operation of all compatible home theater devices. The company showed a pair of home theater Blu-ray disc systems that integrate both features, with the SA-BT300 and SA-BT200.
Amazon will bring its Video On Demand service to Panasonic products via the VIERA Cast feature integrated into upcoming products. VIERA Cast will bring with it Internet features such as access to YouTube videos, weather information, Picasa photos and Bloomberg financial information.
Three new Blu-ray disc players have also been unveiled, including the BD60, touted as the world's thinnest, the BD80, and the BD70V, which will bring the VIERA Cast feature in addition to supporting online Blu-ray disc content such as BD Live and BonusView. A world-first portable Blu-ray player, the DMP-B15, was also introduced, allowing users to play back 1080p resolution content outside the home.
The product roll-out continued with an HD camcorder, the C-TM300, which sports the highest resolution sensor in the world, at 9,150,000 pixels. Another world-first in camcorders was the 70x optical zoom feature found in both the soon-to-be-released H-80 and H-90 camcorders, which sport onboard hard disk drives, the former with a 60GB capacity, the latter with 80GBs and an SD card slot.
At the same time, Panasonic deepened its commitment to recycling electronics, promising to progressively open up more collection sites, topping out at a total of 800 locations nationwide by the end of 2011.
Cameron's Avatar, expected to be released on the new Blu-ray 3D HD format in 2010, will make its theatrical release in December.
Panasonic prototpe 54-inch PDP with 1/3-inch profile
Panasonic SA-BT300 home theater system with VIERA Cast
Panasonic H80 camcorder and DMP-B15 protable Blu-ray player