Panasonic Corp. unveiled the world's largest 3D plasma television this week, a device with a 152-inch screen that is capable of projecting stereoscopic images.

A Panasonic spokeswoman in Tokyo said the TV, which is on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is still a research and development project at present, although there are reports that it will be ready to be released in the autumn.

The screen measures 3.4 meters by 1.8 meters and is the same size as nine standard 50-inch TV screens.

Japan's major electronics companies - including Sony and Sharp - are investing heavily in new television technology for a new generation of viewers. At present, Hollywood is enjoying a boom in 3D movies, including James Cameron's recently released Avatar.

Manufacturers are banking on increased demand for the new technology once these titles begin to broadcast on television.

The first flat-screen 3D TVs are likely to be available for home use from the spring, although Panasonic's gigantic screen is not designed for the home market.

Panasonic anticipates that the television, which is able to display life-size images, will be used at exhibitions and trade shows to advertise products. With special glasses, viewers will be able to watch stereoscopic images that are sharper than the existing generation of high-quality, high-definition televisions.

Sony is also taking part in the four-day Las Vegas trade show, the largest of its kind in the world, and has designs on the 3D market. The company announced in December that it has signed a deal with football's international governing body to record as many as 25 matches in this summer's World Cup in 3D, providing viewers with a more realistic view of the match by giving the image of depth on the screen.

Despite the scale of the Panasonic TV, it still pales alongside the largest television in the world, a unique project manufactured by Mitsubishi and installed at Tokyo Race Course to show highlights of the horse races; that screen measures 66.4 meters long by 11.2 meters high.

JR

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