Avatar on 3D Blu-ray: Only $400 (Not Including TV)!

A few months ago, Panasonic locked up exclusive rights to Avatar on 3D Blu-ray, with plans to bundle it with 3D televisions. Turns out, that won't be the only way to get the movie this holiday season.

Panasonic will also sell Avatar as part of its 3D Full HD Ultimate Pack, which includes a 3D Blu-ray player and two pairs of glasses you'll never use if you already own a 3D TV from another manufacturer. That bundle costs $399.95. Hey, early adopters have loads of expendable income, right?

As I've said before, exclusivity deals are a short-sighted demand from movie studios, who want to ensure that their extra effort on 3D production isn't wasted. In exchange for a quick buck from TV makers, they're sacrificing the greater good of an extensive 3D catalog that would attract more television buyers in the first place.

This is especially true for Avatar. It's arguably the best example of a 3D film to date, and I can only imagine that the release of Avatar on 3D Blu-ray would be a bigger story today if it were available to everyone, and not just to Panasonic 3D TV owners. (On the bright side, folks who bought a Panasonic between March 10 and November 30 can get a free copy of the movie by mail-in request.)

Instead, owners of 3D TVs from other manufacturers must wait for the exclusivity period to end, and it's not clear when that'll happen. Alternatively, they can head to eBay, where bids for standalone Avatar 3D Blu-ray discs start at around $225. What a mess.

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