• The Associated Press

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The problem of what to watch on a 3-D TV will be for viewers to solve with Panasonic’s camcorder for families to film birthdays, a baby’s first steps and weddings, all in 3-D.

Numerous global electronics companies are racing 3-D televisions into stores, hoping a revival of interest in the technology sparked by blockbuster movies such as the sci-fi epic “Avatar” will translate into the public wanting the 3-D experience at home. But the relative scarcity of three dimensional content is a stumbling block for the products catching on.

The whole camcorder and lens setup, shown Wednesday, starts at about ¥170,000, far more affordable than professional 3-D camcorders, which have been the only types available up to now for 3-D filming. The camera looks much like a regular digital camcorder but needs a slightly bigger 3-D “conversion” lens that’s sold separately.

The 3-D camcorders go on sale in Japan Aug. 20, and will be available overseas later this year, according to the Osaka-based maker of Viera TVs and Lumix digital cameras.

Executive Officer Shiro Nishiguchi said Panasonic sees 2010 as the start of “the 3-D era.” Panasonic has led in introducing 3-D products this year, now offering eight TV models, three recorders and four designs in glasses.

“Content you create yourself is going to be what you want to watch, and so it’s going to be killer content,” Nishiguchi told reporters in Tokyo.

The 3-D camcorder is expected to help 3-D products for homes spread quickly, he said, adding Panasonic will start selling a 3-D digital camera for still photos later this year.

Panasonic demonstrated how the camcorder can film a girl playing on swings, and had reporters check out the film through 3-D glasses. The image was colorful, clear and 3-D but, as a homemade movie, not quite “Avatar.”

Panasonic said 3-D footage shot on its camcorder can be watched on 3-D TVs made by rivals Sony Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co.

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