NEW YORK –
Panasonic gave the bulk of its spring
2011 TVs and Blu-ray Disc players a formal send off
here last week, detailing new features and formally listing
suggested retail prices for the first time since they
debuted at International CES.
As previously reported, the king of plasma TV technology
is beefing up its presence in IPS-Alpha-based
LCD TVs this year with screen sizes ranging up to
42-inches and the addition of 3D capability for the
first time in two units.
Better featured plasma and LCD TV models will
also add a more advanced IPTV platform – called VieraConnect
– that will launch with up to 30 apps to
start and will include access to an app store with a
virtually limitless resource of apps and services coming
in the future.
Among the more compelling VieraConnect applications is a collection of sports apps offering out-of-market season
viewing passes to MLB, the NBA, the NHL, MLS and Fox
Sports – all capabilities previously reserved for multi-channel
cable and satellite TV services. Only the NFL Sunday Ticket
remains an exclusive of DirecTV.
Another app on fitness will provide heart rate monitoring
and will connect wireless to accessory items including a incline
treadmill that will be available for aftermarket purchase.
Panasonic’s four new Blu-ray players, meanwhile, continue
to offer the VieraCast IPTV platform in three top-end
models; a more basic level streaming service is provided in a
fourth entry piece. Three of the four players also offer Full HD
1080p 3D playback capability with onboard 2D-3D conversion
at full 1080p HD resolution.
Panasonic said all of the new TVs were designed to deliver the highest quality pictures in their respective classes,
even at the next-level EnergyStar 5.3 power draw requirements
that take effect this fall. That Energy Star 5.3 certification
will not extend to the 55-inch and larger plasma
Improvements were made to reduce or eliminate 3D image
cross talk (visible double images) in the company’s
active-shutter plasma lines: VT30 ($2,800-$4,300 suggested
retail range), GT30 ($1,900-$3,700) and ST30
The VT30 models include the Viera Connect Internet
apps platform, are Wi-Fi ready (includes LAN Adaptor);
Infinite Black 2 panel, a Viera Image Viewer to view JPEG
digital photos and HD video recorded on an SD cards;
DLNA compatibility; Viera link mult-component remotes;
four HDMI connections; three USB ports; a PC input;
ISF Pro Setting Menu; 240Hz with Motion Picture Pro 5,
providing fast motion picture response necessary to produce
crisp, cross-talk free 3D images and a lower power
The GT30 series, like the VT30 models, will be THX 3D
and 2D certified.
In LCD, 3D capability will be found in a pair of 1080p
LED-edge-lit models – the 37-inch TC-L37DT30 (available
in April at $1,300) and the 32-inch TC-L32DT30
(32-inch), shipping in April at $1,200. Both also reduce
3D cross-talk issues through a combination of LED dimming
technology and the IPS Alpha panel technology.
In LED edge-lit 1080p 2D models, Panasonic is offering
the D30 1080 LED LCD TV series featuring:
1080p/120Hz resolution, Motion Picture Pro 4, a flushglass
design and the VieraConnect apps platform.
The E3 series is another LED assortment, but these are
equipped with four HDMI connections; two USB ports;
DLNA connectivity, PC input, 60Hz refresh rates and a
more basic Easy IPTV platform with CinemaNow, Netflix,
Amazon; Napster, Pandora; and Facebook.
The E30 1080p LED series features 120Hz refresh
rates, Motion Picture Pro 4 fast motion response speeds,
and Easy IPTV.
The U30 series features the 42-inch 1080p TCL42U30
(available now at $800) offering a 120Hz refresh
rate, three HDMI ports, PC input and Motion Picture Pro