By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
BERLIN – Panasonic entered the 4K Ultra High-Definition TV market with HDMI 2.0 and Display Port 1.2a jacks, the 65-inch L65WT600, at the IFA show, held here last week.
The HDMI 2.0 specification, also announced at IFA, will allow full 4K 50/60p (2160p) input connectivity. The current HDMI 1.4a connection, found on all current Ultra HDs available for sale, can transport 4K only at 30p, which makes them incompatible with future full 60p 4K content to come, such as emerging 4K camcorders and possible next-generation 4K Blu-ray players to comes.
In addition to HDMI 2.0, the WT600 includes 2000 Hz (BLS) Motion Clarity, has received THX 4K certification, and will include an HTML5 web browser. The DisplayPort 1.2a jack will allow consumers to directly connect a PC to the TV, a function valued by video production professionals and gamers.
While no price was announced, the 4K Ultra HD is set to go on sale next month.
However, while the company announced support for the new H.265 HEVC compression standard at the event, the WT600 includes only “4K H.264” compatibility. Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Panasonic’s A/V VP, noted that Japan’s NHK is preparing to broadcast in 8K by 2020.
Miyabe also showed off the 20-inch 4K tablet announced earlier this year at International CES, and noted the sales date for the company’s 55-inch OLED, also exhibited at CES, was “getting closer.”
In addition to the 4K Ultra HD TV, Panasonic Europe chairman and CEO Laurent Abadie explained the company’s new direction in integrating Cloud-based solutions and connected home initiatives for a variety of products.
For example, the company announced it had purchased a Cloud-based video surveillance company called Cameramanager, used by both businesses and consumers.
For home appliances, a video was shown illustrating Cloud-based voice control for smart appliances which lacked any external controls. Spoken instructions could include setting cooking temperatures, away-from-home remote control, and monitoring from smart TVs. Devices were shown making suggestions to the user as well. No specific products or timetable were announced for these voice-controlled Cloud-enabled appliances, however.
Ichiro Kikuchi, Panasonic’s appliance company VP, also announced a strategic partnership with luxury appliance maker Gorenje, which sells products everywhere in the world other than the U.S. It was unclear if the partnership would result in products sold in North America.
To enhance its standing in the car entertainment market, the company announced the purchase of the Aupeo! Internet personal radio service.
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