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Half of large TVs will be 3D by 2012

Panasonic expects half of all large TV sets will be 3D enabled by 2012. Speaking at a Paris press conference about the 3D coverage of the French Tennis Open, Panasonic’s European CEO, Laurent Abadie, added that the first 3D sets are selling faster then expected in Europe.

“Sales are far above expectations – like in the US – most products sold out in the first day,” he said. “We expect that by 2012, 50% of large screens will be 3D. Personally, I think the total will be a lot more,” he added. Panasonic has just started selling 3D sets in Europe and is preparing to unveil a 152-inch set this September at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin.

Panasonic has inked a deal with sports broadcaster Eurosport and the two are beaming the 3D coverage of the French tennis to almost 4,000 retail stores throughout Europe. Pay-TV operator Orange is broadcasting the 3D tennis and its subscribers with a 3D TV and HD set-top can tune in for no extra charge.

The electronics giant is forecasting one million 3D TV units sold worldwide this year. The US and Europe will account for 40% apiece of that total with Japan accounting for the remainder.