Panasonic’s Mass-Appeal 3D Plasma Televisions Hit Retail
Panasonic has launched a next wave of VIERA 3D plasma televisions dubbed the GT25 series – a “cost down,” smaller-screen version of the flagship, four-model VT25 series that it follows into the market. A 50-inch $2,099 model and a $1,699, gaming-oriented 42-inch model – a new screen size for 3D, said Julie Baumann, product manager of Panasonic Display Company – are now reaching Best Buys and specialty stores that don’t carry the VT series. At the same time, a 46-inch GT25 derivative model has been earmarked for Costco, she said.
Panasonic has also re-thought the design of its 3D eyewear, and will offer a retooled glasses lineup beginning this fall with three models at $179 each that come in small, medium and large frame sizes. Rechargeable via a USB connection, each model in the line is said to be about 40 percent lighter than competitive 3D eyewear, and each has been outfitted with a power slide switch that makes it more evident to the wearer of the glasses’ on-off status. The rechargeable battery will hold a two-hour charge for 30 hours of use, said Baumann. One pair of glasses is included free with any purchase of a VT25 3D plasma television and with the Costco GT25 model, but glasses are not included with any of the other GT25 models.
Panasonic is also running through Oct. 31 a special promotion that gets the purchaser of any of the company’s 3D TVs a free DMP-BT100 3D Blu-ray player (SRP: $249) and a “3D Essentials Pack” valued at $349 and including two pairs of 3D eyewear and the 3D software titles “Coraline” and “Ice Age 3.”
The performance specs for the VT25 and GT25 plasma television lines, she said, differ in that the VT models feature Infinite Black Pro Panels, 24p Cinematic Playback, and RS232 connectivity. Also, the GT25 series, out of the box, will have the ability to play SD Card movie and still image content without needing a firmware upgrade. The GT25 series, added Baumann, is also optimized for viewing 2D-to-3D-converted content since it is a mass-market product – a feature not found on the VT25 line because of an engineering decision not to compromise image reproduction on the higher-end models.