updated 09:40 pm EST, Wed January 6, 2010
3D technology focus of CES keynote
Confirming earlier rumors, Panasonic at CES announced a new partnership with DirecTV that will allow subscribers to access 3D content via satellite. The service will be available following a free software upgrade to existing set-top boxes. Subscribers initially will be able to watch three dedicated 3D channels, with a variety of material from various networks. The different channels will offer standard programming, on-demand content, and 3D sampler materials.
Through a partnership with Fox Sports, one of the first previews will be the MLB All Star game. DirecTV is said to be working to add additional material from AEG, CBS, Golden Boy Promotions, HDNet, MTV, NBC Universal, and Turner Broadcasting, which could air sometime later this year or in 2011.
Along with the 3D broadcasting announcement, Panasonic highlighted the 3D capabilities of a range of products such as Viera plasma TVs and Blu-ray 3D disc players. The company's Full HD 3D technology delivers a 1080p image to each eye, quickly alternating between channels at 60Hz rather than reducing resolution.
Upcoming Viera TVs with 3D support include the TC-P50VT20 and TC-P50VT25 in 50-inch sizes, the TC-P54VT25 with a 54-inch panel, and the TC-P65VT25 which spans 65 inches. The company also claims to have created the world's largest 3D plasma screen, a 152-inch TV with 4K x 2K (4096x2160) resolution The DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray 3D player is claimed to boot in a half second, while users can also play standard Blu-ray discs, DVDs and CDs.
Pricing and launch dates for the 3D products have yet to be announced, although the DirecTV programming is expected to be available sometime in June.