By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
CES 2014 Las Vegas - Panasonic kicked off its new LCD-centric TV phase by showing an expanded lineup of step-up models, including additional Ultra HD TVs and an advanced “Beyond Smart TV” system worthy of a new Life+Screen sub-brand designation during International CES.
The new offerings fill in for the recent departure of plasma displays as the brand’s bread-and-butter TV technology.
The Life+Screen TV sub-brand will be applied to both FullHD and Ultra HD LED LCD TV models carrying its newly enhanced smart-TV platform, including new 4K Ultra HD TVs carried under the Life+Screen AX800 series, featuring models in the 65- and 58-inch screen sizes. The sets combine UHD 3,840 by 2,160 resolution images with Panasonic’s Beyond Smart features.
The company also plans to offer an 85-inch version later in 2014.
New Beyond Smart enhancements include an easy-to-use interface with My Home Screen personalization features; content-preference learning for a more intuitive and personalized gateway; a new My Stream feature that enables seamless, automatic Internet-based content recommendation; and a new My Button on a touchpad remote that triggers the set to learn a user's preferences.
Other smart features include a voice assistant and an Info Bar that quickly presents useful information without requiring the user to turn on the TV. A proximity sensor coupled with face recognition via the AX800-series TVs’ built-in cameras work together to automatically display information such as weather forecasts, message notifications and a clock.
A My Home Cloud makes it possible to download a variety of content and apps, home and screen templates.
The AX800-series Ultra HD sets are to debut this spring and are available for pre-order now at the Panasonic website at pricing to be announced.
Other key Ultra HD enhancements include Studio Master Color offering a wide color gamut of up to 98 percent of DCI standards, using a newly developed, high-color-space LED backlight; high contrast and rich gradation from a Local Dimming Pro features that optimizes panel brightness and black levels; and a 4K Fine Remaster Engine up-conversion engine that presents lower-resolution images in high quality the 4K display.
Meanwhile, 2014 Life+Screen FullHD 1080p LED LCD TVs will be offered in four model lines ranging in screen size from a 39-inch class to 60 inches. Model classes will include the AS680 series, AS650 series, AS640 series and AS530 series.
The AS680 series (55 inches) to AS650 series (60-, 55- and 50-inch screen sizes) include the Beyond Smart features and picture-enhancing functions. The AS640 series (60-inch) and AS530 series (60-, 55-, 50-, and 39-inch screen sizes) are basic models combining Beyond Smart features and practical picture-performance functions.
Also debuting in 2014 is the Panasonic Viera A400 series (50, 39 and 32 inches), which omits Life+Screen smart features.
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