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Wednesday 1 October 2014

3D TVs being replaced by better mid-range models - Panasonic boss

Published 04/09/2014 | 11:12

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Journalists take photos of a Panasonic television with Panasonic "Life Screen" technology during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Journalists take photos of a Panasonic television with Panasonic "Life Screen" technology during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

3D televisions and giant sets are being replaced by a focus on better quality resolution for mid-range models, according to one of the industry’s most senior executives.

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“While 3D is still interesting to Hollywood studios, it is mainly for theatres and cinemas and is not being pushed anymore for home entertainment,” Hiroyuki Iwaki, general manager for Panasonic’s television business unit, told The Irish Independent at Berlin's IFA tech trade show.

“There are still some interesting uses for 3D and some people do like using it. But Hollywood prefers it for theatres.”

The market for giant 80-inch televisions, lauded last year as the future of high-end home cinema systems, is also capped, say other senior executives.

“The most growth and standardisation is happening at around the 50-inch size,” said Yuki Kusumi, Panasonic’s senior vice president of appliances.

“It varies from country to country, but this is the size we are seeing most. And the price of these television models is now becoming very affordable.”

Instead of size, picture quality is what ‘premium’ television manufacturers are now concentrating on. A majority of high-end television sets will use so-called ‘4K’ picture quality, which delivers over twice the resolution of existing top-end TV models.

“We are still seeing a lack of content in 4K,” said Mr Kusumi. “This is one reason why we have added 4K video recording to several new cameras and video recorders.”

The company announced a new professional video camcorder that records 60 frames per second in 4K quality, while its Lumix FZ1000 DSLR camera now also records in 4K.

However, while the industry moves to standardise 4K across mass-produced sets, ‘premium’ manufacturers’ such as Panasonic need to stay one step ahead of the technology to prevent getting sucked in by commoditisation among cheaper manufacturers.

“The difference will still mainly be in the display quality,” said Mr Kusumi. “We have a lot more control over the screens we offer. Also, we invest a lot in processes that we think might shape the industry in years to come.”

Panasonic, which currently holds 5pc of the world’s television market, hopes to see its market share increase to €18bn by 2018.

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