May 12, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
3D has been around for awhile, so Panasonic is upping the ante by adding some performance features to their lineup of plasma and LED 3D displays. The line of GT and VT 3D plasma displays are now available; two LED 3D TVs were added. The improvements were demonstrated to members of the press recently. Here’s our impression of some of those updates:
• IPS Alpha LED panel. This technology is intended to provide a wider viewing angle and improved motion picture response. In other words, if you sit at the side of the TV the picture will still look clear and you won’t notice any blurring of images during fast action scenes.
Our take: yes, compared against another TV the picture of the LED TV with the IPS Alpha when viewed at the side looked noticeably better. It took longer to notice fast action improvements, but it was there.
• 3D Effect Controller. With this technology, consumers can adjust the intensity of 3D effects. “Some people want things leaping out at them more; some what things leaping out less,” explained a Panasonic spokesperson.
Our take: It’s a great concept, but there didn’t seem to be much difference between the the high and low 3D settings.
• 3D SD Playback. Theoretically, if you own one of Panasonic’s 3D point-and-shoot cameras, you should be able to pop the SD card into one of the new lines of 3D TVs and view your images in 3D.
Our take: a cool, new way to interest people in your family vacation.
• Vertical Soundfield: In 2011 Panasonic will focus on adding a dimension of sound to their 3D TVs. Called Cinema Surround Plus, it will literally heighten the action by weaving a vertical soundfield to the existing horizontal surround-sound effect.
Our take: Weren’t able to hear a demo, but the concept is interesting.
• 3D Blu-ray Players get Skype: In the past, you could only find Skype on Panasonic’s 3D TVs. The company is building the communications platform into 3D Blu-ray players.
Our take: A much less expensive way to get into Skype. The Skype Blu-ray player will work with the TV you already own
Viera Connect: The latest apps to join the cast of apps available on 3D Panasonic TVs with Viera Connect are Facebook and Twitter.
Our take: People may spend more time using their 3D TVs as a social media device than actually watching 3D programs.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.