Panasonic began this morning with its annual two-day press briefing for its TV and audio products here in New York.
The goal is to provide a detailed overview of product features that much of the media saw or heard of during International CES in January. It also provides pricing and availability info for home audio, and pricing info on its inaugural streaming media line and its 3D and 2D Blu-ray players for 2013.
I visited the event this morning to take a look at the many features in its plasma and LCD TV lines that debuted in Las Vegas, and the features are many and are impressive. Here are a few:
- For videophiles the blacks are blacker and the reds redder in both its 2013 plasma and LCD lines vs. last year’s models.
- My Home Screen provides a personalized screen for everyone in the house. The set can ID you and your preferences since you can take a picture of yourself with its built-in digital camera — which could also be used with the Skype app.
- Swipe & Share 2.0 is a feature letting smartphone and tablet users share and send their pictures to certain Panasonic sets, which can be stored on an SD card or USB drive.
- Several TVs in the line feature a full web browser, quick access to most social-networking sites to share comments on shows with friends, and access to its branded Viera apps, whenever you want to add them to My Home Screen.
- You can control some of the sets in the line by your own voice, which will recognize your My Home Screen features, among other advantages.
- For plasma sets there is an electronic pen (an accessory for $79) that can enable you to write notes on the screen, stop video action, and either keep it or send to friends via email or social networks.
After seeing the line, my advice to Panasonic is to make sure their salespeople and reps go out and fully demonstrate the capabilities of the line. And my advice to retailers that are carrying Panasonic’s 2013 line would be to make sure they know all the features and — demonstrate and explain the features.
No, these are not your father’s HDTVs.
After much conjecture on the future of Panasonic’s plasma TV operation, and TV altogether, Jack Oh, product manager of LCD TV, said that year on year, the company’s emphasis on bigger screens with higher margins and better features has increased pricing year on year by 5 percent, which is good news for them.
Our resident TV expert, executive editor Greg Tarr, will be back from a road trip and will visit Panasonic tomorrow, so we will get his insights on the line — and probably pricing and shipment dates, which were not available as of this posting.
Visit TWICE.com tomorrow for further updates.