Panasonic, a strong advocate of 3D display technology, has provided further details on its temporarily exclusive deal with major US movie studio 20th Century Fox to bundle the forthcoming Avatar 3D Blu-ray release with its 3D TV sets and associated 3D products.
At present, the hotly anticipated Avatar 3D Blu-ray disc will only be available to those who have purchased certain Panasonic 3D equipments. Specifically, consumers who have bought a Panasonic 3D TV (such as the Panasonic TX-P50VT20B or the Panasonic TX-P42GT20B) together with either a Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player or a Panasonic 3D Blu-ray home cinema system between the 30th of October 2010 to 31st of January 2011 will be able to redeem a copy of Avatar 3D Blu-ray by sending in a claim form to Panasonic before the 28th of February 2011. Three other Blu-ray titles – Ice Age 3 3D, Coraline 3D and Paul Carrack 3D – are included as part of the promotional offer.
This tie-up between Panasonic and 20th Century Fox is not new, as both companies have worked together on the Blu-ray authoring of Avatar (both in 2D and 3D) at the state-of-the-art Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory Advanced Authoring Centre in Universal City, California.
The duration of the Avatar 3D exclusivity agreement between 20th Century Fox remains unknown, but owners of other 3D TV brands like Samsung and Sony will be hoping that it won’t be too long before the 3D Blu-ray disc gets a general release so that they can buy it off the shelves.
The commercial motives behind exclusivity deals such as this one or that between Samsung and DreamWorks Studios are easily understandable: TV manufacturers are able to obtain a competitive advantage to boost sales of their respective 3D TVs; while film studios can secure an immediate and guaranteed return on their 3D investments. But most analysts agree that limiting the circulation of 3D Blu-ray titles is detrimental to the uptake of 3D TV in the long term, especially considering that 3D content is sparse enough as it is.