Avatar gets 3D Blu-ray release, comes with free Panasonic 3DTV

Avatar is finally landing in living rooms in glorious three-dimensional Blu-ray high definition -- it'll cost you a few grand, but you'll get a free Panasonic 3D television thrown in.

James Cameron's 3D epic Avatar is finally landing in living rooms in glorious three-dimensional high definition -- it'll cost you a few grand, but you'll get a free Panasonic 3D TV thrown in.

Nearly one year after first exploding into cinemas, James Cameron's digital opus is finally arriving in 3D for your home. But if you've laid down your hard-earned cheddar for a Sony 3D TV in anticipation of some Avatar action, you're out of luck: the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning epic will only be available as part of a package with a Panasonic 3DTV bundle. 20th Century Fox and Panasonic have done the deal so you get the film with a 3D TV and Blu-ray player, or a home-cinema setup.

The film may look spectacular but we felt let down by the derivative story and clunky themes. Splitting the story between real actors on real sets and motion-captured characters in a CGI environment is a fundamental mistake, highlighting the artificial sheen to the computer-generated elements. Still, the 3D is pretty eye-popping.

Panasonic has one of the biggest ranges of 3D kit, like the Viera VT20 telly and DMP-BDT300 3D Blu-ray player. That's not to mention the HDC-SDT750 camcorder which lets you shoot your own tri-dee meisterworks.

Panasonic authored the Avatar Blu-ray disc at its Hollywood laboratory, which we like to picture as being full of sexy scientists turning each other invisible and having wacky adventures. In our heads that's just what scientists do.

3D in its current phase is still pretty new and expensive, so there aren't a huge number of films to choose from. Avatar's importance as the pre-eminent movie of the new 3D revolution could sway a lot of people into choosing Panasonic over Sony, depending on how long the exclusive lasts. The film is Panasonic's ace in the hole to counter Sony's full house: unlike Panny, Sony makes its own blockbuster movies so it has an ever-growing slate of 3D films such as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Avatar 3D will eventually get a general release, but Panasonic has yet to confirm how long the exclusive deal will be. Fingers crossed we don't end up with too many of these exclusive deals as manufacturers tie up films to secure your dosh.

Update: Avatar will be exclusively available with Panasonic tellies until February 2012. If you do score one, you will be able to lend it to your friends as the disc will work on other brands' Blu-ray players.

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