Panasonic Adds Video Calls and 3D Discs to TV Deals

SECAUCUS, N.J.: Panasonic is sweetening its TV deals with functionality and tchotchkes. The electronics maker is activating Skype video call capability to its 2010 Viera Cast-enabled HDTV sets, and the bundling to Blu-ray titles with its emerging 3DTV sets.

Two new Viera 3D plasma sets were released into the U.S. market earlier this month following a limited introduction in March. Inventory was quickly sold out during the March endeavor. The only problem is that full-time 3D channels will not become available until mid-June. So now, Panasonic is throwing in 3D Blu-ray versions of Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinasaurs,” and Universal’s “Coraline,” for folks who buy a 3D Panasonic plasma set between now and July 10.

Panasonic introduced 50- and 54-inch 3DTV sets in early May priced at $2,600 and $3,000, respectively. A $3,400 58-inch model and a $4,300 65-inch model are scheduled to hit the market in June.

The company also added video calling to its non-3D, Viera Internet-connected HDTVs. Panasonic has activated Skype video calls on its 2010 Viera Cast-enabled HD sets and rolled out a companion camera, the TY-CC10W, suggested retail price, $169.95. Panasonic said it’s launching a national ad campaign for Skype on Viera sets.
-- Deborah D. McAdams