CEATEC NEWS: Panasonic goes 3D to mark its change of name


From today, the original name of the company - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd - and its popular National brand, known throughout Japan, are finally gone: from now everything is Panasonic.

The move has been many years in the planning, and has cost the company some $400m, according to senior Panasonic board members we spoke to over lunch yesterday.

To celebrate, the company's stand here at the CEATEC show is looking firmly forward to an all-Panasonic future.

There'll be more on its future living concepts later, but the show also sees the debuts of some key products for the company - the world's first 3D Full HD plasma theatre system, the expansion of plasma technology into 'Neo PDP', encompassing thinner screens, wireless HD transmission, and a huge 150in 2160x4096 pixel display.

The 3D system uses Panasonic's 103in plasma, a modified Blu-ray Disc player and special glasses with electronically controlled alternating shutters.

On this set-up we were treated to clips including an extract from animation Meet the Robinsons, a track fron teenypop girl group Clique Girlz (pictured) and scenes from the Beijing 2008 opening and closing ceremonies.

The set-up worked well, with striking depth to the pictures and all the usual effects of objects leaping out from the screen - at one point shards of glass hung in the air before us, and then water splashed toward the viewer only to hit a virtual barrier just in front of us.

Not everyone was convinced, some finding the effect slightly unsettling, but the image retained its solidity even when the viewer's head was turned relative to the screen, and was most effective with some of the Olympic shots, even though there are clear issues with fast action.

It's claimed that the technology allows full HD resolution to be retained, even though each frame of the special discs is now carrying twice as much data, conveying the whole image in both left and right eye versions.

Panasonic says it will be working closely with both studios and other consumer electronic companies to standardise the format, the platform for this work being the Blu-ray Disc Association.