Tag Archives | Panasonic

Seen at CEATEC, Tokyo’s Big Gadget Show

I had a good time last week visiting Tokyo to attend the CEATEC show. Back here in the states, most people don’t know what that is–and I explain that it’s similar to CES and IFA the biggest consumer electronics exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. But that doesn’t fully describe CEATEC, which is a smaller show (though still pretty expansive) and focused on the Japanese market rather than a global marketplace.

The best way to convey what it’s like is to share some of the photos I snapped. So here we go.

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The Curse of 3D TV, Continued

[At Panasonic’s booth, IFA attendees use glasses to view 3D images of the women performing right there in front of them.]

Last year, I attended the IFA consumer-electronics megaconference in Berlin. The exhibitions of the big manufacturers were utterly dominated by 3D TVs. All that blurry 3D hurt my eyeballs, put me in a bad mood, and prompted this rant.

This year, I’m back in Berlin for IFA. There’s still scads of 3D, but it’s not quite as omnipresent as last year. Whether companies are losing interest or simply recalibrating their expectations to something more in line with consumers’ level of interest in this stuff, I’m not sure.
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Coming in 2012: 3D Glasses That Aren’t Incompatible and Pricey

Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and 3D glasses maker XpanD have announced that they’re working together to design a specification for Bluetooth-enabled 3D glasses that will be compatible with HDTVs from all the above makers. They intend to ship them in 2012, and the glasses should work with existing 3D-capable TVs as well as new ones. It’ll eliminate the current hassle of having to buy glasses made by your TV’s manufacturer, and will presumably help to drive down prices for the specs.




This Dumb Year: The 57 Lamest Tech Moments of 2010

Progress–to swipe an ancient General Electric slogan–is the technology industry’s most important product. Its second-most important product? That’s easy: blunders. In fact, you could argue that the two are inextricably intertwined. An industry that was more uptight about making mistakes might be more cautious and therefore less inventive.

It’s also sometimes difficult to tell where progress ends and blunder begins, or vice versa. If you believe that Google Wave was a bad idea in the first place, you might think it was smart of Google to kill it this year–but if you thought Wave had promise, then it’s Google’s early cancellation that’s the gaffe.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that while the industry’s lame moments are…well, lame, they can also be important. Last year, I summed up a decade’s worth of tech screw-ups and came up with 87 examples. This time around, I’m covering only a single year–but I found 57 items worth commemorating. No, tech companies aren’t getting more error prone; I was just more diligent. And as usual, there was plenty of ground to cover.

Thanks once again to Business 2.0’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business and, of course, to Esquire’s Dubious Achievement Awards for inspiring this. Here we go…

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3D Will be Ubiquitous at CES, But Will It be Good?

If you head to CES in January, make sure you pack your Emetrol along with the rest of the first-aid kit.  You’ll be walking through miles of aisles of 3D TVs, PCs, and other gizmos, and it’s not likely you’ll be wearing your 3D glasses.  Life is about to look very out of focus.

Still, like any nascent technology, 3D has its rightful place amongst competitors in our Last Gadget Standing contest. 3D TVs and monitors, profilic as they are, don’t fit in your hand, so we’re not including them in this year’s LGS.

One big topic among our LGS judges is 3D eyewear. What happens when you invite the gang over to watch the big game?  Bring your own glasses?  Compatibility issues?  One-size-fits-all issues? There’s enthusiasm for universal glasses that cross brand lines and work with all 3D systems.

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How Panasonic’s Jungle Portable Game Device Can Survive

Panasonic has barely announced the Jungle, a tank-like portable game console, and already the skepticism is piling up.

Rightfully so; the Jungle comes at a time when smartphones endanger handheld game consoles (and all standalone mobile gadgets). It also has an oddball concept of supporting massive multiplayer online games, and brings the bitter taste of the 3DO, Panasonic’s failed home console from the mid-1990s.

But I prefer optimism. The Linux-based Jungle reminds me of the Pandora handheld, which is finding some niche success, and it has potential for major content partnerships, like the marquis title Battlestar Galactica Online. And according to Gizmodo’s unnamed source, the Jungle has an awesome screen, a touch pad, a D-pad and a keyboard — basically everything you need to play games. I’m not ready to write off the Jungle until we know more about it. In the meantime, I can think of several ways the Jungle could be taken more seriously.

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The Curse of 3D TV

(At Panasonic’s IFA booth: People using 3D glasses and monitors to watch the live women in front of their faces.)

If you determine the big story here at the IFA tech show here in Berlin based on raw square footage in the booths, there’s no question what it is: 3D TV is everywhere.

The massive booths of consumer-electronics giants such as Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and Toshiba are dominated by 3D. There’s 3D that requires pricey active-shutter glasses. There’s 3D that uses cheaper passive specs. (There’s even 3D from the Fraunhofer Institute that doesn’t need glasses.) There are 3D games and 3D Blu-Ray players and 3D soccer broadcasts and 3D LCD sets and 3D plasmas and 3D projectors and giant walls made out of 3D screens.

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Want Avatar on 3D Blu-ray? First, You'll Need a Panasonic TV

Nine months after Avatar’s theatrical release, it’s still regarded as the pinnacle of 3D entertainment. So it’s too bad that only buyers of Panasonic 3D televisions will get the movie when it’s released on 3D Blu-ray in December.

For an undisclosed period of time, Avatar will be bundled with Panasonic’s 3D televisions, and won’t be sold through any other means, Twice reports. Panasonic wants to make the movie available to people who have already purchased a Panasonic 3D TV, but is still working out the details. Avatar could be bundled with Panasonic 3D Blu-ray players and home theaters as well, but the company  wouldn’t confirm whether this is going to happen.

Avatar isn’t the first 3-D movie to be given exclusively to a single television brand — Samsung bundles Monsters vs. Aliens, and Panasonic has offered Coraline and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. TV makers lock down these deals to convey the idea that 3D content actually exists, and Hollywood studios like the deals because they provide a guaranteed return on the 3D investment.

But as CNet points out, Avatar will likely be the first live-action 3-D Blu-ray movie available in the United States. It’s a big deal, and locking it down to one TV maker is a short-sighted move by Panasonic and 20th Century Fox, one that puts their own interests ahead of 3D’s greater well-being. The exclusive Avatar deal might boost Panasonic’s sales this holiday season, but when prospective buyers learn that almost every other 3D Blu-ray disc is also tied down to specific televisions, at the expense of having lots of movies on store shelves, they might sour on the idea of 3D TV altogether.


Panasonic Shows Off First Consumer 3D Camcorder

3D is the latest fad in home entertainment it seems, and Panasonic kicked it up another notch Wednesday with the release of the first consumer 3D camcorder. The HDC-SDT750 will retail for $1,399 and would begin shipping in October of this year here in the states.

The HDC-SDT750 would include a special lens which would record video in 960 x 1080 resolution in versions for the left and right eye. This lens can then be detached to use the camcorder in standard HD, the company said.

Panasonic will ship video editing software with the device, which would allow the 3D video to be saved to DVD or Blu-ray. Users can also choose to play the video back straight from a camcorder on a compatible 3D HDTV via HDMI.

According to reports, for the 3D to work effectively with this camera, Panasonic says the subject would need to be with 1 to 3 meters of the camera. Thus essentially the 3D effect would probably only work for close-ups, rather than using it to film landscapes and the like. In other words, don’t expect to be the Ken Burns of 3D with this thing.

Either way, its somewhat exciting to see 3D becoming available to the consumer, even if it is rudimentary. I guess what remains to be seen is whether 3D itself is just a passing fad akin to other technologies (LaserDisc, anyone?).

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