In what may be an indicator of what’s to come in Australia Panasonic has said its 3-D TVs sold out in the U.S. in their first week, raising optimism among retailers that the new TV technology may be a big hit locally.
The technology that helped “Avatar” break records at the box will be launched in Australia soon with Samsung set to be the first vendor to hit stores with a new line up of 3D TV’s.TV makers are betting movies such as James Cameron’s “Avatar,” the highest-grossing film of all time, and sports events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup will help drive demand for 3-D sets using improved technology. Still, a lack of programs and the need to use special eyewear, a reason that thwarted previous attempts to push adoption, may deter consumers.
Kota Ezawa, a Tokyo- based analyst at Citigroup told BusinessWeek that “The quality of the top makers’ 3-D TVs is quite good and they’ll probably be well received. Samsung, Panasonic and other top TV makers will probably sell about one million sets each in the coming year, mainly to people who like movies or new products and high-end users.”
Panasonic became the first major TV maker to sell 3-D sets in the U.S. when its 50-inch full high-definition plasma TV went on sale at outlets of Best Buy Co. with a pair of glasses and a 3-D Blu-ray player for $2,899.99 on March 10. Samsung the world’s largest TV maker, began offering a 55-inch 3-D model there for $3,299.99 on March 14, while Sony Corp. plans to start selling 3-D Bravia TVs from June.
“Avatar” which in January passed “Titanic” to become the top- grossing movie worldwide and has taken in $2.64 billion since its release will be released in Australia in 2D initially with Fox Home Entertainment holding the 3D version back untill there are enough 3D sets in the market to justify distribution in Australia.
This will not prevent either Samsung or Panasonic from securing the rights to the hit movie with a Blu ray version being given away from free in the run up to Xmas.
ChannelNews and SmartHouse has also been told that all three codes in Australia, including the AFL, ARL and the NRL are set to treat 3D rights to their events as separate contracts with all commercial free to air TV networks and Foxtel holding discussions with the associations over 3D rights.