Panasonic Hits Road To Showcase Its 3DTVs

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Seeing is believing -- particularly when it comes to in-home, 3D technology. In time for the holiday season (and as a possible way to goose sales), Panasonic is embarking on a 14-city, two-week mall tour showcasing its 3D television systems.

Beginning on Wednesday, Panasonic launches its Unwrap 3D Tour, which includes seven interactive mall displays to be erected in malls in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The displays will then move to seven other metro locations.

The displays will showcase the company's 3D offerings, from Viera plasma TVs to Blu-Ray disc players, and other products including a consumer 3D camcorder and the world's first digital camera with an interchangeable 3D lens. The displays will include content from 3D movies, television programming and PC-based 3D games.

The interactive displays take a page from a similar initiative conceived by the Consumer Electronics Association, ESPN and the country's top cable and satellite providers earlier in the fall. That promotion, titled "National 3D Demo Days," involved setting up 3D viewing areas in some of the nation's top electronic retailers, giving consumers a chance to watch 3D sports programming in the stores to get a better idea of the 3D experience. As part of the promotion, the company is giving away 3 Full HD 3D Home Entertainment systems, which include a Viera 3D Plasma TV, 3D Blu-Ray home theater system, 3D glasses, a 3D camcorder and the Lumix GH2 camera with an interchangeable 3D lens.

Regardless, the company has its work cut out for it this holiday season. Despite the hype that started last January behind 3DTV, people are still taking a wait-and-see approach.

In a recent survey of users by consumer electronics information site Retrevo.com, 3DTVs ranked seventh among the most desired holiday items among consumers. According to Retrevo's director of content Andrew Eisner, much of the hesitation around the technology has to do with incremental costs (such as glasses) and a lack of original programming.

Panasonic representatives did not return calls seeking more information.

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