Market Watch

Panasonic Enables Consumer Generated 3D



Panasonic has introduced a 3D camcorder aimed at the consumer market; the HDC-SDT750. This consumer offering follows hot on the heels of the announcement of its professional 3D camcorder, the AG-3DA1, early in 2010. The consumer device which functions as a 2D camcorder with the 3D functionality added by a 3D conversion lens attached to the front will cost $1,399. The professional camcorder offering is an integrated lens design with a recommended price of $21,000.

Analysis
Panasonic's push to introduce 3D products aimed at the consumer is part of an industry wide strategy to introduce 3D outside of the cinema. The speedy introduction of 3D television sets is not being met with a parallel availability of content. Panasonic's relatively cheap professional 3D camera system, the AG-3DA1, is seen as making available 3D for all content creators while the consumer offering may see user generated 3D content proliferate. Sony has been embarking on a similar initiative; offering free 3D workshops for filmmakers and rolling out 3D consumer offerings. Sony's NEX line of digital still cameras allow 3D photos to be generated using software, rather than dual lens, and are viewable on 3D TVs.

The 3D TV is central to the 3D ecosystem into which Panasonic is investing considerable amounts. At the end of 2010 less than 1% of TVs installed will be 3D and access into all applications, photo viewing, consumer film making and gaming, as well as core BD and broadcast content will drive 3D TVs into more rooms of the house. Panasonic and Sony have the widest position across this supply chain. Panasonic has been heavily involved in many 3D content initiatives including investing in Avatar, sponsoring one of Direct TV's 3D channels and the 3D production of the 2010 Roland Garros tennis tournament, as well as opening the first 3D BD authoring facility. The only area of 3D content Panasonic has yet to be heavily involved with is 3D gaming.

Sony has emerged as one of the leaders in professional 3D production equipment as well as consumer 3D TVs and Sony's film and games studios have production slates filled with 3D titles. Other manufacturers such as LG and Samsung have been less proactive in their push for 3D content, due in part to positioning across the supply chain and the choice by Samsung to retain 2D to 3D conversion technology. This is also present in Sony TVs and Panasonic's reliance upon only native 3D content is surely a driver to aid content creation.

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