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Appeared on: Friday, August 29, 2008
IFA08: Panasonic Announces Thin Plasma Panels, First Blu-ray Recorder in Europe

Panasonic unveiled its largest-yet slimline PDPs and the first BD recorder for the European market at the IFA electronics show in Berlin on Thursday.

The prototypes include a 42-inch panel with double efficiency technology that halves energy consumption while maintaining the same brightness, a less than one-inch super-thin 50-inch PDP and for the first time ever a one-inch super-thin 58-inch and 65-inch PDP. Panasonic is also displaying the world?s largest 150-inch advanced high definition (HD) PDP.

At the core of these PDP's lies the double efficiency technology used in the 42-inch prototype. After thoroughly reviewing its existing IC technology and panel structures, Panasonic developed new phosphors and cell design technology for improved discharge and new circuit and drive technology to significantly reduce power loss. As a result, the 42-inch prototype has twice the luminance efficiency and provides the same brightness as the existing 42-inch 1080p full HD PDP, while cutting the power consumption by half.

The double-efficiency technology forms the base for next-generation PDPs, enabling even thinner profiles, larger screens, brighter images, higher definition and lower power consumption. The revolutionary technology promises to open up new possibilities for PDPs.

The 24.7mm (less than one inch) super-thin 50-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch Plasma televisions, for example, is about one-fourth as thin as previous plasma TVs thanks to the new circuit and drive technology. The 50-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch are also 1/2 the weight of conventional models. This thinner profile and lighter weight give users more setup flexibility in the living room, while also making the unit an elegant addition to the room d?cor.

Furthermore, using the wireless transmission system that Panasonic developed recently based on "Wireless HD" standard, it will allow users to enjoy HD contents on the TV with more flexible layout and no wire installation. It can be hung on the wall or suspended from the ceiling according to user?s viewing preference.

Panasonic has also taken a huge leap in making them even larger. The 150-inch PDP delivers dynamic, overwhelming image quality with an 8.84 million pixel resolution (2,160 x 4,096) - more than four times the 1080p HD specification (1,080 x 1,920). The prototype has a screen size equivalent to nine 50-inch PDPs with an effective viewing area of 11 ft (3.31 m) (W) x 6 1/4 ft (1.87 m) (H). With the enhanced PDP technologies Panasonic accumulated in the development of its 103-inch PDP, the 150-inch PDP provides stable and uniform images across the vast expanse of the screen and the same brightness as the 103-inch PDP.

Europe's First BD recorder

At the same event, Panasonic unveilled the first Blu-ray Disc recorder (DMR-BW500) for the European market that can record and playback High Definition imagery on Blu-ray Discs. The DMR-BW500 features an integrated twin HD Digital Tuner for Terrestrial Broadcasting making it possible to record two digital programs simultaneously. Packed with innovative features, the new Blu-ray Disc Recorder will be available in France.

Michael Friedrich, Manager Product Marketing, Home AV, Panasonic Marketing Europe said, "As a leader in cutting-edge Blu-ray Disc technology, Panasonic is proud to be the first company to introduce this model into the European market. With the development of High Definition broadcasting and further growing demand of large-screen flat panel TVs, there is an increasing desire to record and play back High Definition images."

In addition to recording two digital broadcasts at the same time, the DMRBW500?s twin HD digital tuners make it possible for users without a digital TV to watch a digital broadcast and record it at the same time. The 5.1-channel Surround Sound (Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, or HEAAC) signal and subtitles that are included in digital broadcasts can also be recorded, allowing users to enjoy surround sound and subtitles during playback.

The DMR-BW500 comes equipped with a built-in 500GB Hard Disk Drive allowing for up to 100 hours recording time in DR mode as well as an SD Memory Card slot, making it easy to view AVCHD-format images captured with an HD camcorder such as the Panasonic HDC-SD100. The DMR-BW500 feature an HD Archiving function that makes it possible to save Full-HD images from an SD Memory Card onto a Blu-ray Disc or the built-in hard disk drive. Also, in addition to a High Speed Copying function, a High Speed Copy Preparation function makes it possible to convert TV programs recorded in DR mode to HG, HX, HE, or HL mode (highdefinition). This greatly shortens the time required to save the data onto a disc making it easy to preserve special moments in Full-HD quality.

Thanks to Panasonic?s image processing technologies, the DMR-BW500 can record and reproduce images in high quality. Image-enhancing features include the Panasonic DMR-BW500 "Pixel Precision Progressive Processing for HD" or P4HD Processor which renders high-quality progressive images and "PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus," which achieves sharper images by improving color reproduction to produce cinematic images that rival the original film quality.

The DMR-BW500 also adds a BD-Live (including BONUSVIEW) function available on the newest Blu-ray Disc, which allows consumers to access exclusive on-line bonus features via an Ethernet connection.

The DMR-BW500 supports all new HD Audio codec so that it can decode HD audio signals (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD) encoded on the Blu-ray Disc. By connecting the DMR-BW500 to an AV control receiver with 7.1-channel compatibility, the user can enjoy high quality, 7.1-channel surround sound.

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