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August 22, 2009

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Panasonic deal on 3D TVs to lift image

PANASONIC Corp has signed on "Titanic" director James Cameron and his upcoming film in an advertising blitz for its TVs equipped with 3D, or three-dimensional, technology, both sides said yesterday.

The deal between the major Japanese electronics maker and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp's "Avatar" -- the first major Hollywood 3D release that's not animation -- comes as competition heats up in flat-panel TVs that show 3D images, or stereoscopic vision.

To watch 3D TVs, viewers must wear special glasses that block vision in one eye and then the other as the TVs switch rapidly between images for each eye to create an illusion of depth.

Panasonic is planning to start selling 3D TVs next year. Rivals, including Sony Corp, which has its own movie division, and Samsung Electronics Co of South Korea have shown prototypes and may offer similar products.

The problem is the scarcity of content to view in 3D. Skeptics say a number of Blu-ray discs of appealing 3D movies must come out for 3D TVs to catch on.

Several animation films are already being shown in theaters in 3D, but "Avatar," set for release on December 18, will be the first major non-animation film debuting globally in 2D and 3D.

"I believe 3D is how we will experience movies, gaming and computing in the near future. 3D is not something you watch. It's a reality you feel you could step into," Cameron said on video.

Panasonic is hoping its tie-up with Cameron will give it an edge in brand image as a 3D leader, the firm said.


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