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Panasonic Paints Viera Picture

3/24/2008 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Panasonic provided further details on its plans for its latest Viera plasma Full 1080p and LCD TVs, which made their original debut at International CES in January, during recent press briefings here.

Among the highlights of the line are Panasonic's free IPTV service — Viera Cast — and the announcement that the company will offer its LCD models under the Viera brand name. As part of the re-emphasis on the Viera brand, Panasonic plans to stress high definition with promotions and an ad campaign later this year. The effort will emphasize how the company's Blu-ray players, HD camcorders and the SD card slot on all of its high-definition flat panels enable consumers to easily display digital pictures on their displays. Further details on the marketing effort were not disclosed.

Among the flat panels Panasonic showed was the 1080p PZ80 series, including a new 46-inch display, the TH-46PZ80 with a suggested retail of $1,999. The rest of the line, all with 1080p resolution, includes the 42-inch TH-42PZ80 ($1,599) and the 50-inch TH-50PZ80 ($2,499). They feature Game Mode, Viera Link, HDMI connections and an improved native contrast ratio of 20,000:1. The Game Mode minimizes the time lag when displaying game images on the plasma screen. Viera Link allows the consumer to operate all Viera Link equipped components with a single remote. All three will ship this spring.

The PZ85 series includes three screen sizes, all with 1080p resolution — the 42-inch TH-42PZ85, ($1,799) the 46-inch class TH-46PZ85 ($2,199) and the 50-inch class TH-50PZ85 ($2,499). These full HD Plasma televisions feature an improved native contrast ratio of 30,000:1, Game Mode, Viera Link, an SD memory card slot and a PC input. They will also ship in the spring.

In the PX80 series there are two plasmas with 720p resolution, native contrast ratio of 15,000:1, Game Mode, SD memory card slot and Viera Link. The 50-inch TH-50PX80 is priced at $1,699 and the 42-inch TH-42PX80 is priced at $1,199, with shipments set for spring

In the PX80 series there are two plasmas with 720p resolution, native contrast ratio of 15,000:1, Game Mode, SD slot and Viera Link. The 50-inch TH-50PX80 is priced at $1,699 and the 42-inch TH-42PX80 is priced at $1,199, with shipments set for spring.

Panasonic also showed that in flat-panel Viera is more than just plasma, with an expanded line of five Viera LCD TVs that are divided into two distinct series.

The Premium Viera LCD line features two models, the 32-inch TC-32LZ800 and the 37-inch TC-37LZ800. These two panels add the following features: Digital Cinema Color Re-mastering, a technology that allows for color reproduction that meets the Hollywood DCI2 standard; DCI color reproduction enables the VIERA Displays to realize the colors that are essential for movies; four HDMI connections that provide Viera Link to enable the consumer to operate multiple Viera Link-equipped components with one remote; a PC input; BBE VIVA Surround sound; and the one sheet-of-glass-appearance design. Shipments are set for the spring, but pricing has not yet been set.

The line also had two 720p models — the 26-inch TC-26LX85 ($799) and the 32-inch TC-32LX85 ($899), both which include three HDMI connections that enable multiproduct connectivity via the Viera Link connection. Also in this series is Panasonic's first 37-inch LCD, the TC-37LZ85 ($1,399), with 1080p full-HD capability.

While there was no further pricing and shipment dates yet on the flagship series of the line, which includes the Viera PZ850 and its first THX Certified Display, here are some highlights of their features:

The Viera PZ850 includes a 65-inch plasma, (TH-65PZ850) and introduces Panasonic's IPTV service that allows consumers to access select internet sites like YouTube, the Weather Channel and Google's Picasa photo-sharing service. The series, which also features full 1080p, includes three other models: the 46-inch class TH-46PZ850, the 50-inch class TH-50PZ850 and the 58-inch class TH-58PZ850. These IP-enabled televisions feature a technology, called Viera Cast, that provides access to online content directly from the television without a set-top box. The feature is one of several upscale functions from the line that will ship this summer.

Panasonic's first THX Certified Display series of 1080p full HD Viera plasmas is the PZ800 series, consisting of the 42-inch class TH-42PZ800, the 46-inch class TH-46PZ800, the 50-inch class TH-50PZ800 and the 58-inch class TH-58PZ800, all meet THX Certified Display specifications, signifying the highest standards of performance and quality, the company said, and will ship in the spring.

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