3D television is the future. We know it's the future because at every CES we've ever been to, manufacturers bang on about it like it's the cure for cancer. This year Panasonic has turned the hyperbole into reality with its first 3D high-definition Viera television, 3D Blu-ray player and 3D video camera, as well as offering the first 3D TV channels. It's also gone and made an enormous 152-inch 3D telly. Blimey.
The 152-inch plasma panel, rather prosaically named the Full HD 3D PDP, gives eye-watering 4Kx2K resolution. It won't be in shops anytime soon, but that's okay with us because it wouldn't fit in our street, let alone our house.
The Viera Plasma V series 3D telly will be on sale this year. It offers a 1080p picture for each eye, flicking between the two high-definition images 120 times per second, so fast that our brains build a three-dimensional image. It comes in 50-inch, 54-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch flavours, and includes Infinite Black Panel Pro technology for deeper blacks, with a whopping 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Each 3D Viera comes with funky-looking Eyewear glasses.
But what will you watch? Get yourself a PP-BDT350 Blu-ray player with HDMI 1.4 and Wi-Fi and you'll be watching films likein three dimensions. The press conference even wheeled out Avatar producer Jon Landau, who compared uptake of 3D to our embracing of stereo sound, and even predicted 3D on mobile devices, the big nutter.
Panasonic has also partnered with DirecTV and will launch two 3D, HD channels and a third, on-demand 3D HD channel. A firmware upgrade to existing DirecTV set-top boxes will allow consumers to plug in their new 3D tellies and start watching. US consumers, that is, as these things won't be in Europe any time soon.
You'll even be able to make your own 3D movies with the Full HD 3D camcorder. It boasts lenses in one unit and records to SD or SDHC cards. It's smaller than professional camera units, and frankly we can't wait until autumn when it'll go on sale. We suspect some saving up may be required, however, as it's made to order and will cost about $21,000 (£13,100).
Panasonic also announced the Plasma G series television and DMP-BD85 Blu-ray player in boring old two-dimensions. The 3D V series and 2D Plasma G series boast Wi-Fi and Panasonic's IPTV system,. Panny has partnered up with VoIP giants Skype to offer video calling on all Viera televisions, including the 3D V series. Forget 3D, making free video calls on your telly, that's the future.