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 sets, however.
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 ($1,100-$3,300) series.
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 consumption.
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 4 technology.