Panasonic Reverses Stance On 2D-To-3D Conversion With GT25 Launch

Vincent Teoh

Despite being one of the first TV makers to bet big on 3D display technology and launch a consumer-grade 3D TV earlier this year, Panasonic has always expressed its skepticism at 2D-to-3D conversion, often questioning the resultant 3D picture quality brought about by such means. This is the reason why Panasonic has so far refused to implement the function on the company’s 3D TV models, even though allowing users to watch 2D content in 3D may theoretically go some way towards addressing the lack of native 3D content, therefore potentially generate more sales. In fact, Robert Perry, senior vice president at Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company, had previously likened the 2D-3D conversion facility offered by competing 3DTV manufacturers (such as Samsung and Sony) to serving fake sushi-like food in a sushi bar.

However, Panasonic appears to be reversing its stance on this matter. The TV manufacturer has unveiled two new 3D TV models for the US market, which will feature the 2D-to-3D conversion processing previously shunned to date. Constituting the Viera GT25 series, the 42-inch Panasonic TC-P42GT25 and the 50-inch Panasonic TC-P42GT25 are expected hit US stores from the beginning of next week at prices of US $1,700 (£1,100) and $2,100 (£1,350) respectively. Specifically aimed at gamers interested in playing 3D games, the Panasonic TC-P42GT25 will be among the smallest 3D TVs on the market in terms of screen size.

Although there has been no word from Panasonic on whether 2D-to-3D conversion technology would make its way across the pond onto UK sets, it is expected that the European equivalents – provisionally labelled Panasonic TX-P42GT25 and Panasonic TX-P50GT25 – would make an appearance at the forthcoming IFA 2010 consumer electronics trade show in Berlin next month. If released in the United Kingdom, the models would probably be known as the Panasonic TX-P42GT25B and Panasonic TX-P50GT25B in keeping with Panasonic’s nomenclature (with the extra character B denoting the 3-pin-plug British version).

An unconfirmed source suggested that it may not be possible for 2D-to-3D conversion facility to be implemented on existing Panasonic TX-P50VT20 3D TV sets even with a firmware update due to different video processing chipsets used, which may leave 50VT20 owners feeling aggrieved.