CES 2011 LAS VEGAS - Having taken the point on delivering the first stereoscopic FullHD 3D plasma sets to the U.S. market last March, Panasonic returned to International CES Wednesday to unveil its much-anticipated Gen 2 3D offerings, including its first line of 3D LCD TV models.
Among a wide assortment of new TV products on display this week are several series of Viera 3D TV plasma models with newly expanded IPTV functionality over last year's VieraCast system.
In addition, Panasonic said it has added 3D capability to its video-conferencing technologies, and is demonstrating 3D (and 2D) video calling over the Panasonic HD Visual Communications System in booth 9408 during the show.
Highlighting the 2011 3D TV lines to be unveiled is the VT30 FullHD 3D plasma series featuring 65- and 55-inch screen sizes, which are slated to ship in the April/May time frame at prices to be announced closer to the delivery date.
The VT30 models, like all of the new 3D series, include expanded Internet connectivity and services offered through the newly named Viera Connect system.
Panasonic said sets will have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and access to additional "inter-connected sites" including: Gameloft, Hulu Plus, Napster, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and Facebook.
The VT30 models, which ship in the spring, will also have THX 2D certification and also offer Infinite Black Pro 2 panels that are said to raise luminous efficiency while minimizing pre-discharge over last year's Infinite Black Pro panels.
The result is more subtle, delicate blacks, in both dark and bright environments than last year's products provided.
Panasonic will ship one pair of newly redesigned active-shutter eyewear with the sets, at prices to be announced closer to shipping dates.
The Viera GT30 series of FullHD 3D plasma sets will include four screen sizes - 65, 60, 55 and 50 inches. All offer Infinite Black 2 panels, built-in Wi-Fi and the aforementioned Viera Connect IPTV pack.
Those models will also include four HDMI inputs, three USB ports and THX 2D certification.
The Viera ST30 FullHD 3D plasma series offers a similar feature set, with fewer HDMI and USB inputs, and without THX certification.
Panasonic's first 3D-capable LED edge-lit LCD TVs will be offered in the DT30 series, including the 32- and 37-inch screen sizes. Models will employ Panasonic's In Plane Switching (IPS) LED panel technology, for FullHD resolution, and the Viera Connect package.
Panasonic has tweaked its 3D active-shutter eyewear for 3D sets this year. They will continue to sell for a $150 suggested retail per pair, but are said to be lighter and generally more comfortable to wear. This year Panasonic will offer aftermarket glasses in three sizes: small, medium and large. They also include new rechargeable batteries.