Panasonic Japan Launches 3D TV With Inbuilt BD & HDD Recorder

Jonathan Sutton

Although 3D televisions are still struggling to gain ground due to expensive upgrade costs, the need for compulsory 3D glasses and a generic lack of 3D content, Panasonic is moving full steam ahead to add even more products to its 3D TV range… at least in the company’s home turf.

Panasonic has launched the Viera RT2B plasma series in Japan, which the company claims is the world’s first all-in-one 3D TV with integrated Blu-ray player and HDD recorder. Users can play 3D Blu-ray discs directly on the Panasonic RT2B 3D TV via a slot-loading Blu-ray drive.

500Gb of hard drive space and dual digital tuners are present on the Panasonic RT2B series, allowing owners to either watch one TV channel and record the other, or record 2 programmes from separate channels simultaneously. Two compression algorithms are available for the recordings: “Standard Mode” (up to 91 hours of SD material or 64 hours of HD content) or “Long Mode“. The latter has a 2 further levels of compression, which can extend the recording time to between 182 and 364 hours for high-definition programmes.

The television programmes that are recorded on the inbuilt hard disc drive can then be written to a Blu-ray disc for storage, though details about any digital rights management issues (which may limit the number of transfers from HDD to BD – and vice versa – allowed) and compatibility with other devices (i.e. can the burnt BD disc be played on Blu-ray players of other makes without a hitch?) remain unknown.

Otherwise, the Panasonic RT2B range of 3D TVs shares similar specifications and functionalities to the critically acclaimed VT20 series: 5 million to 1 contrast ratio; full HD 1920 x 1080 NeoPDP panel; and Viera Link, Skype and DLNA connectivity. The Panasonic TY-EW3D10W active shutter 3D glasses are required to watch 3D content.

The Panasonic RT2B multi-function 3D TVs is scheduled to hit Japan on the 27th of August in 2 screen sizes: the 42-inch Panasonic TH-P42RT2B and the 46-inch Panasonic TH-P46RT2B which will retail for 390,000 yens (around £2,900) and 440,000 yens (around £3,300) respectively. The company currently does not have plans to sell these all-in-one 3D TV models outside Japan, citing lack of demand as the main reason.