Panasonic will expand its Internet-TV service this spring offering applications to compete with rivals like the alliance between Sony and Google.
At CES 2011, the company also unveiled a series of tablet devices under development, which will go on sale within the year in an increasingly crowded market. Panasonic also showcased its 2011 lineup of 3D TVs and Blu-ray 3D players.
Panasonic unveiled today at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show, VIERA Connect -- an enhancement of its connected IPTV offerings on 2011 VIERA HDTVs to include a collection of applications including expanded video streaming, and two-way interactive features from gaming to social networking, and fitness programs. Panasonic also unveiled VIERA Connect Market, a service which allows consumers to personalize their VIERA Connect experience via a catalog of apps from third-party application developers and announced that VIERA Connect will be an open IPTV platform with its SDK/API available to application developers and its Middleware technology available to connected device manufacturers.
In addition to popular video applications such as YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Video on Demand, owners of Panasonic's VIERA Connect-enabled 2011 VIERA HDTVs will also be able to:
* Watch their favorite teams live or catch-up on archived games via MLB.TV, MLS Matchday Live, NBA Game Time, and NHL Game Center.
* Catch-up anytime on their favorite TV programs via Hulu Plus
* Play the hottest video games including Asphalt 5.
* Stay connected with family and friends via Skype video calling, Facebook , Twitter, or broadcast to the world via Ustream.
* Keep in shape and monitor their wellness and fitness with apps from companies including Withings, Body Media, and ICON Health & Fitness.
To promote third-party developer participation, Panasonic is currently partnering with leading IPTV apps developers including Accedo Broadband AB, Wiztivi and Tata Elxsi Limited, and will open the VIERA Connect Developer's portal where VIERA Connect SDK and API will be provided. To create a broader IPTV apps ecosystem, Panasonic is also collaborating with partners including Access Co., Ltd, to make the VIERA Connect Middleware technology available to other TV, Set-top-box and other device manufacturers and semiconductor companies.
"VIERA Connect builds upon our initial successes with our VIERA CAST IPTV platform and takes connected TV to a whole new level of interactivity for consumers," said Panasonic Corporation of North America Vice President Merwan Mereby who oversees the development of Panasonic's rapidly expanding connected TV features and products. "VIERA Connect breaks the boundaries of the walled garden structure of initial IPTV programs and delivers an unprecedented, more robust, two-way interactive set of features for consumers to enjoy directly through their Panasonic VIERA HDTVs. And with access to a catalog of apps from third-party developers, VIERA Connect makes connected TV a truly personal, customizable feature which you can enjoy right from the comfort of your living room."
The enhanced cloud-based TV service and 15 new wide-screen TVs on which it can be used, will likely be launched in early 2011, starting in the United States, the company said.
Panasonic expects Internet-enabled TVs to make up 70 percent of its global television sales in the financial year starting April 2012.
FULL HD 3D, VIERA CONNECT, And LCD-LED HDTVs LineUp
Panasonic's 2011 line-up of LCD and LCD-LED HDTVs features the inclusion of Full HD 3D television to select Panasonic LCD-LED models, IPS Alpha panels, fast motion refresh rates, Game Mode, wide viewing angles, and a reduction in power consumption.
The 2011 LCD and LCD-LED line-up benefits from the addition of the IPS Alpha Panel (In Plane Switching) technology. Panasonic claims that the IPS Alpha technology delivers a wide viewing angle with almost no picture degradation at off angle viewing, a higher moving picture resolution during fast action scenes, and a clear, bright image. Due to the structure and high transmittance of the panel, an IPS Panel consumes less energy and produces a brighter, clearer picture.
VIERA Connect internet functionality is integrated into select LCD-LED 2011 models. Panasonic also introduces Easy IPTV, adding six of the most popular movie, music and social networking sites to three model series, which will now feature such apps as Netflix, Amazon VOD, Napster, Pandora , Facebook and CinemaNow.
VIERA LCD-LED Series
The 2011 LCD-LED Line-Up expands from one series and two models in 2010 to five series and eight models in 2011 (TC-L37DT30 and TC-L32DT30 are Full HD 3D models). The 2011 line-up introduces five LCD-LED series - the DT30, D30, E30, E3, and the C30, which premieres a new 19-inch screen size. The LED Series (with exception of the C30 series), produces 1080p resolution, features an IPS Alpha panel; Viera Connect (the E3 and E30 Series include Easy IPTV), DLNA compatibility, multiple HDMI connectors, USB ports, a PC input, Viera Link (HDMI-CE Control),and Viera Image Viewer, which allows you to view digital photos and movies recorded on an SD Memory Card.
The C30 series incorporates a new screen size into the 2011 Panasonic family of LCD-LED HDTVs. The 19-inch class (18.5? measured diagonally) TC-L19C30 is a 720p, 60Hz panel, with one HDMI connection, a PC input, Viera Image Viewer and Viera Link.
The E3 series presents three screen sizes- the 32-inch class TC-L32E3 (31.5" measured diagonally); the 37-inch class TC-L37E3 (37" measured diagonally) and the 42-inch class TC-L42E3 (41.6" measured diagonally). With the exception of the 42-inch model, all the E3 series incorporate the Alpha IPS panel. The E3 HDTVs provide the consumer with four HDMI connections; two USB ports; DLNA connectivity and a PC input. The three E3 televisions utilize 60Hz technology with 1080p resolution. To further increase the entertainment, experience, the E3 series features Easy IPTV.
The TC-L42E30, a 42-inch class (41.6" measured diagonally) HDTV featuring an IPS Alpha panel with LED backlighting and 120 Hz Motion Picture Pro 4, for fast motion response speeds. In addition, the TC-L42E30 also has Easy IPTV offering multiple entertainment solutions for the customer. The TC-L42E30 easily connects to other CE devices by offering four HDMI inputs, two USB ports, DLNA connectivity and a PC input. The TC-L42E30 also features a clear panel to enhance contrast and reduce ambient light reflections.
The top of the line TC-L42D30 has a 1080p IPS Alpha panel with 120Hz Motion Picture Pro 4 technology contributing to the set?s overall high picture quality. Panasonic?s proprietary IPTV solution VIERA Connect is featured. In addition to such favorites from last year such as Amazon VOD, Netflix, Skype, Twitter, You Tube and Pandora, the 2011 service introduces a number of new interactive and entertainment sites, including Napster, Hulu, Facebook, CinemaNow and access to such sport sites as NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS.2
Also included in the feature package is Viera Image Viewer with H.264 decoding for viewing JPEG and movies recorded on a SD Memory Card.; DLNA connectivity; Viera Link; four HDMI connectors; three USB Ports and a PC input.
VIERA LCD Series
The C3 series consists of the TC-L32C3, a 32-inch class (31.5" measured diagonally) HDTV is a 720p HDTV with an IPS Alpha Panel. In addition, the LCD TV features two HDMI connectors; a PC Input; VIERA Image Viewer and VIERA Link.
The TC-L24C3 is a 24 ?inch class (24.0" measured diagonally) panel, featuring VIERA link and VIERA Image viewer.
The LCD U3 series includes two models, the 37-inch class (37" measured diagonally) TC-L37U3 and the TC-L32U3, a 32-inch class (31.5" measured diagonally) HDTV. These two LCD HDTVs produce 1080p Full HD resolution and utilize an IPS Alpha Panel. For connectivity, the U3 series includes three HDMI connectors; a PC Input; VIERA Image Viewer and VIERA Link.
The U30 series features one 1080p model ? the TC-L42U30, a 42-inch class (41.6" measured diagonally). Featuring an IPS Panel; three HDMI connectors; a PC Input; VIERA Link and VIERA Image Viewer, the TC-L42U30 introduces 120Hz with Motion Picture Pro 4 to the LCD line.
The TC-L32X30, a 32-inch class (31.5" measured diagonally), 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV with the IPS Alpha Panel, continues to offer the popular iPod/iPhone Entertainment kit, allowing the user to connect their device directly to the TV. The 32X30 also includes Easy IPTV; DLNA compatibility; VIERA Image Viewer, providing the consumer with ability to view digital still photos, as well as H.264 decoding for watching movies recorded onto a SD Memory card; VIERA Link; three HDMI connectors; a USB port and a PC Input.
FULL HD VIERA Plasma TV series
Panasonic's VIERA TC-P42S30 Full HD Plasma HDTV has also received an International CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Award in the Eco Design and Sustainable Technology product category.
The Panasonic VIERA TC-P42S30, a 42-inch class (41.6" measured diagonally) features fast-switching phosphors, for artifact-free motion resolution; 600Hz Sub-field drive; three HDMI connections; two USB ports; Easy IPTV; VIERA Image Viewer for easy access to photos and movies recorded on an SD Memory Card; DLNA; VIERA Link and a Game Mode.
Panasonic VIERA Tablet for Cloud Services
Panasonic has also developed a new smart terminal called the VIERA Tablet to enable access to a variety of cloud services in conjunction with its VIERA digital televisions. The VIERA Tablet, which will be put in the global market within this year, marks Panasonic?s first step toward cloud-based services including video streaming and e-books.
The VIERA Tablet is a tablet-type terminal with a small touch screen LCD display. The new tablet is designed to provide creative functions and easy operability in conjunction with VIERA digital televisions. The tablet's intuitive navigation interface makes it easy for the user to use cloud services. The tablet can also work as a sub-screen for displaying images and information related to the images shown on the connected television.
The VIERA Tablet will come in various models with different screen sizes from four to ten inches to offer the optimum graphical user interface (GUI) with visibility and operability suitable for various services and content. These portable devices feature a slim and lightweight design, long hours of operation and shock resistant construction.
Building upon the technologies developed for the VIERA Tablet, Panasonic will work to launch its cloud service business as early as possible - with an eye to forming alliances with major companies in various industries.
At 2011 CES, Panasonic introduces its concept of entertainment via the VIERA Tablet to bring about, including the following:
- Enjoy IPTV services such as VIERA Connect online video-on-demand and interactive services
- Use it intuitively as a "visual remote control" to operate TV including switching channels
- View sports scenes from different angles as a sub-screen
- Communicate via social network services (SNS) while watching TV
- Enjoy the advantage of e-commerce, ordering suggested items related to the TV contents by shopping online on the tablet
Skype voice and video on VIERA CAST-Enabled Panasonic Blu-ray Disc Players
Panasonic and Skype, announced at CES 2011 that Skype voice and video calling will be available on 2011 Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players. Skype-capable Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled Plasma HDTVs were first introduced in 2010.
The addition of Skype to Panasonic's new DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210, and DMP-BDT110 VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players allows consumers to make Skype voice and video calls on virtually any HDTV using a Skype-compatible camera (sold separately).
In addition to providing a larger screen for video calling, Skype on VIERA CAST gives the user a range of benefits including:
- High definition video at up to 1280x720 resolution at a maximum frame rate of 22 fps (conventional Skype use on a PC has a resolution of 640x480).
- The ability for callers to leave Skype video or voice messages when the recipient is not available which are stored in the Blu-ray Player for playback. An indicator light on the front of the Blu-ray Disc Player?s display alerts recipients to the waiting message(s).
- VIERA CAST's easy-to-use GUI that is operable from the Panasonic Blu-ray Disc Player?s remote.
- Wi-Fi capability? the BDT310 and BDT210 come with built in Wi-Fi, while the BDT110 requires a wireless adaptor (sold separately).
The BDT310, BDT210 and BDT110 are all high-quality Blu-ray Disc players with 2D-3D Conversion, which can convert 2D images from DVDs and Blu-ray discs into 3D. With the 3D Effect Controller the user can control the leaping effects of 3D images, as well as allowing one to adjust the amount of depth. Also contributing to higher picture quality is the new UniPhier chip, which, simultaneously lowers power consumption. Vertical color reference process has also been increased by 1.5 times, to express fine details and nuances in movie scenes with the Adaptive Chroma Processing. The HDMI Pure Audio improves sound quality.
These three models are also DLNA-certified, allowing users to enjoy content with their Blu-ray Disc player, from a computer or other DLNA compatible device.
VIERA CAST's sites, including Netflix, Amazon VOD, You Tube, Pandora, twitter, Bloomberg News, a weather channel and Skype continue on the 2011 models and are joined by a host of features and apps. Included in VIERA CAST's 2011 roster are such apps as Napster, CinemaNow, and access to popular sports sites including the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS.
The BDT310, BDT210, BDT110 and BD75 feature a unique updated design, making operation simple with icons and text indications. They also have ultra-quick playback. The BDT310 and BDT210 feature a Touch-Free Sensor to open and close the disc tray for smooth operation, perfect for dark rooms. Additionally, each of the 3D Blu-ray Disc players works with an iPhone as a remote.
New networking capabilities are among the highlight features of the new 2011 Blu-ray Disc player lineup. All four players allow users to customize their own home screen using your favorite photo or wallpaper. Simply insert an SD card into the Blu-ray Disc player to transfer over the image. The BDT310 and BDT210 feature a built-in Wi-Fi System, while the BDT110 requires an optional wireless adaptor for local area network connections.
The Panasonic DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210, DMP-BDT110 and DMP-BD75 will be available in the spring of 2011.
Multi-Format DVD Players With Newly-Added USB Port
Panasonic also today announced two new DVD players, the DVD-S68 and the DVD-S48, both with multi-format playback, making them ideal for users who both record their own discs on DVD recorders and view commercially recorded DVD discs.
While both the new DVD-S68 and DVD-S48 are advanced progressive scan DVD/CD players, the DVD-S68 provides 1080p HD up-conversion and features Multiple Operation with Single Remote (HDMI-CEC) and Dolby Digital for high quality audio. Both models play DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs.
These two new DVD players join a family of Panasonic DVD products including the new DVD-LS92 Portable DVD Player, and two 2010 DVD recorders, the dual VHS/DVD-DMR-EZ48V and the DMR-EZ28 that will continue in the lineup for 2011. Both DVD recorders include a digital tuner that can be employed as a source for digital television transmissions.
The new DVD-S68 and the DVD-S48 DVD Players are scheduled to ship in the spring.