Avatar Blu-ray 3D tied to Panasonic until 2012

Avatar is available on Blu-ray 3D today. It’s perhaps the best showcase title to demonstrate the power of the new 3D medium. But…if you don’t own or plan to own a Panasonic 3D TV, the only way to get a copy is to buy a $400 bundle that you can’t use with your TV, or get one from a scalper on Ebay.

That’s because Panasonic ponied up a whole lot of money to get the exclusive distribution rights of the Blu-ray 3D version of James Cameron’s masterpiece. In return, the studio didn’t have to worry about the cost of production and gets to test the waters for free. But that’s not sitting too well with people who own a Samsung or Sony 3D set.

The deal had previously only been mentioned as a limited arrangement, and it was confirmed that Avatar Blu-ray 3D would be available to buy standalone at some point in the future.

According to AV Zombie, that date has now been confirmed as February 2012.

So if you don’t have a Panasonic 3D TV, but have one from another manufacturer, here are your options:

– Buy the Panasonic 3D starter kit for $400. This contains a Panasonic Blu-ray player and two paird of Panasonic 3D glasses. The glasses will be useless to you since they only work on Panasonic TVs, but the Blu-ray player is universal.

– Go on Ebay and hope to find a legitimate copy of Avatar on Blu-ray 3D for as low as $100

– Wait until February 2012. By then, people will have forgotten about Avatar.

This idea of manufacturer exclusivity for Blu-ray 3D seems to be dying off quickly. Samsung had a similar deal with Dreamworks and has been offering exclusive bundles with Monsters vs Aliens and the Shrek movies, but most studios are now opting to release their Blu-ray 3D titles directly to retailers.