Panasonic ramps up production of 3D TVs

Electronics maker tells the Financial Times it has "increased 3D panel production by 30 percent" compared to its original plan because demand has been better than anticipated.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Panasonic 3D TV
Panasonic's 3D TV Panasonic

Panasonic might be best known in the television business for its support of plasma technology, but in a recent interview with the Financial Times, the company said that it's also enjoying success with its 3D plasma TVs.

"We've had a very strong reaction" to 3D TVs in the U.S., Panasonic TV division chief Hirotoshi Uehara said in an interview with the Financial Times. "Our plasma panel factory is at full capacity but we've increased 3D panel production by 30 percent compared to our original plan."

Although Panasonic sounds upbeat about its 3D TV future, the company didn't provide a scale with which to gauge the increase in production.

Panasonic originally launched its 3D TV, the Viera TC-P50VT20, in March and has been one of the staunchest supporters of the technology. But it's also facing an uphill battle--at least initially. Because 3D TVs have only recently come on the market, there is little 3D content to watch. Some early adopters are finding that the extra price they paid for 3D technology has yet to be worth it.

But more 3D content is coming. At a joint announcement last month introducing Panasonic's 3D TV, representatives from Fox Home Video and DirecTV said more 3D shows and movies are on the way. Some networks have also said that they plan to offer 3D programming over the next year or so. That said, it will take some time before 3D content is ubiquitous.

Quite a bit is riding on Panasonic's 3D strategy. The company, which also offers LCD televisions, is one of the biggest plasma providers in the market.

According to a report from Reuters, market research firm DisplaySearch estimates that in 2010 global shipments of plasma TVs will hit just over 15 million units, a rise of 6 percent. That compares with more than 180 million LCDs that are expected to ship in that same period, an increase of 24 percent over last year.