Panasonic outlined its strategies for 2011 at CES, with 3D and interactive TV being is two main initiatives.
On the 3D front, Panasonic announced the addition of several new TVs, camcorders and Blu-ray players.
“We expect 3D to contribute to 32 percent of TV sales worldwide by 2014,” says Shiro Kitajima, president of Panasonic. The company’s 2011 Viera lineup includes 14 Full 3D HDTVs. In addition to the expanded 3D plasma lineup, Panasonic will for the first time offer 3D features in its LCD-LED models, namely the 32- and 37-inch models in its DT30 line. Besides offering consumers more 3D TV choices, Panasonic says the new models will boast improved contrast, brightness and a 25 percent reduction in power consumption.
Two new 3D Blu-ray players will join the single player that was available last year, with some additional features like an SD card slot for playing back images on a Viera TV and connections for a Blu-ray camera to support Skype communications.
While the world waits for more 3D content, Panasonic hopes consumers will take matters into their own hands by creating their own by using one of the company’s new 3D camcorders to recording their own home movies. “Consumers can record their movies on an SD card and play it back via the SD card slot on a Viera 3D TV,” says Jim Sanduski, senior vice president of sales.
Product introductions aside, Panasonic is spearheading many initiatives in an effort to grow the entire 3D industry. The company recently launched a 3D Innovation Center in Hollywood specifically to help educate movie producers and consumers about 3D. Panasonic’s participation in the development of a 3D standard for interoperable active shutter eye wear, meanwhile, will provide consumers with the flexibility to mix and match 3D TVs and eye wear.
Building on its Viera Cast interactive TV features launched in 2008, Panasonic announced a new and improved IPTV technology, called Viera Connect. This IPTV offering on 2011 Viera HDTVs will include collection of applications that expand on video streaming and two-way interactive features from gaming to social networking, and fitness programs.
By collaborating globally with third-party app developers, Panasonic VIERA Connect will provide consumers with a greater range of entertainment and information. In addition to popular video applications such as YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Video on DemandT, Viera Connect-enabled TVs will let consumers 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; and access to a library of video games.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.