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New Panasonic 3D plasmas shrink prices, screens

Panasonic's newest 3D plasma TVs lower the price point and add a smaller, 42-inch model.

The new Panasonic GT25 series seems at first glance like a 3D version of the existing G20/25 series (pictured). Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic has announced the availability of two 3D-compatible plasma TVs as part of the new GT25 series. Both are less expensive than the company's current 3D TVs, the excellent VT20/25 series.

The 50-inch TC-P50GT25 carries an MSRP of $2,099.95, while the 42-inch TC-P42GT25 lists for $1,699.95. The 42-inch model is the smallest 3D screen size yet for Panasonic. Both sizes will be available in late August, according to the company.

While the new TC-P50GT25 does cost less than the existing TC-P50VT25, which is currently going for about $2,600 from authorized online retailer, the same retailer has the nearly identical TC-P50VT20 selling for $2,100. For that reason, among others, we expect the actual selling price of the new TC-P50GT25 to be somewhat less than $2,000.

In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if the 50-inch GT25 hit the same price point as the competing Samsung PN50C7000 (about $1,800). In case you're keeping track, the recently announced Samsung PN50C490 (a 720p model for about $1,000) is still the least expensive 3D-compatible plasma TV.

The GT25 series will have the same VieraCast functionality found on the VT25 and G20/25 series, and it wouldn't surprise us if the GT25's specs--and 2D picture quality--mirrored those of the G20/25 models. Unlike the VT20/25 models, the GT25s will not include 3D glasses, which currently retail for about $150 each.

We have requested a review sample from Panasonic.