Panasonic has confirmed that the 3D Blu-ray of Avatar will continue to be exclusively bundled with the manufacturer's kit until February 2012, dashing hopes that a retail version of the disc will hit stores any time soon.

The company has been offering the 3D version of the movie with its compatible hardware on the build up to Christmas, although it was widely believed that the exclusivity deal with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment would run out in the new year. Indeed, Sky will be broadcasting a 3D version of the film on Christmas Day in the UK.

However, speaking to Steve May for his AVZombie site, Panasonic UK’s press officer Sara Barrett said, “Just to confirm the Avatar bundle deal does run until Feb 2012.”

It is devastating news for the 3D home entertainment market as Avatar was the disc most people expected to kick-start adoption of the new format, which has been slow until now due to the lack of quality content.

Copies of the 3D Blu-ray are currently changing hands on eBay for around £80 - £100 a pop, and thanks to the deal, that is unlikely to abate any time soon.

What do you think? Will 3D ever take off when content is so hard to come by? Let us know in the comments below...