updated 08:30 pm EST, Wed January 5, 2011
Viera Cast becomes Viera Connect, added to tablet
Consumer electronics giant Panasonic has revealed its latest lineup of products live from the halls of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, and Electronista has the details. As expected, Panasonic has big news for its popular line of Viera HDTVs, with a major focus on 3D technology, as well as the addition of a new tablet device that features the same interactive connectivity technology used on the Viera HDTVs.
Panasonic says that it further strengthened its hold on the consumer driven HDTV market worldwide in 2010, increasing market share by over 30 percent in some segments, a big push to continue the expansion into 3D technology and the update and renaming of Viera Cast to Viera Connect. IPTV sales worldwide are expected to go from 20 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2014.
Viera Connect, Panasonic's new name for its IPTV services, will be shared on the new Viera HDTV sets as well as an entirely new product from the Panasonic family - Viera Tablet. While detailed specifications are still being kept hush, so far we do know that Viera Tablet will be capable of streaming content from a Viera HDTV onto the tablet device - allowing users to effectively take their "TV" with them throughout the house. The tablet can also display images and information related to the images shown on the connected television.
The Viera Tablet will be based on the same Viera Connect (formerly Viesra Cast) system, a touch-senstive screen, and when it comes to market, it will eventually be available in various models with different screen sizes that range from four to 10 inches. As expected from a modern tablet, Panasonic promises a slim and lightweight design, long hours of operation (no numbers were given) and shock resistant construction.
For now, Panasonic is referring to the tablet as a prototype, so be sure to follow Electronista's coverage of the new device as we will be sure to share the details as they become available. Expect the Viera Tablet to hit the global market sometime in 2011.
Panasonic details 2011 changes to its bread and butter: Viera HDTVs
While tablets have been all the rage at CES this year, with Panasonic even getting its feet wet in that realm, the consumer electronics giant still has a laser focus on its popular Viera line of HDTVs and has announced a bevy of changes and upgrades for the latest model year units.
For starters, and as mentioned above, the feature formerly known as Viera Cast has now be renamed to Viera Connect - likely for marketing reasons as the new name more obviously conveys its purpose to consumers that are more and more being overwhelmed by technical data. As a refresher, Viera Connect is Panasonic's proprietary internet functionality service, and for the first time, it is being integrated into select LCD-LED models for 2011.
Panasonic shared some of the uses for Viera Connect, including Easy IPTV, adding six movie, music and social networking sites to three model series, and apps like Netflix, Amazon VOD, Napster, Pandora, Facebook, CinemaNow and Skype functionality. Other content included the ability to play 3D games online through Gameloft.
Michel Guillemot, chairman and president, Gameloft, said "Our partnership with Panasonic exemplifies how two forward thinking companies can meld the future of video gaming with the future of connected television. Consumers can now enjoy the best gaming experience directly on their Panasonic Viera HDTV sets."
Other changes include new filters that have improved the quality of black output and have reduced power consumption across the Viera lineup by an average of 25 percent. For those who prescribe to a "bigger is better" mentality, Panasonic says it has also been able to increase the size of several models for 2011 compared to the outgoing models.
Panasonic's Plasma Full HD 3D HDTVs are now available in new screen sizes - the 55-inch class and the 60-inch class, as well as the 65-inch class. The new additions to the Panasonic Full HD 3D family of LCD/LEDs include a 37-inch class and a 32-inch model.
Another major change was the expansion into the LCD and LED-LCD HDTV arena, which included the addition of 3D technology for the first time on the display medium for Panasonic with the addition of two LCD/LED Full HD 3D models.