Las Vegas - Panasonic celebrated its plans for 3D and smart-TV technology in 2012 by having a couple of entertainment and sports stars brighten up its International CES eve press conference here Monday.
Actor Justin Timberlake was introduced to help announce a deal that will bring a new MySpace application for chatting while watching popular TV programs on newly advanced 2012 Smart Viera TVs.
Then the company introduced U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team gold medalist turned color commenter Brandi Chastain and members of the 2012 U.S. Women's Soccer team to help announce that Panasonic will sponsor NBC Universal's 3D telecasts of the 2012 Olympics from London this summer.
The 3D games will be available to U.S. distributors who carry Olympic coverage, marking the first time coverage of the games will be presented in 3DTV.
No multichannel service providers were announced as carrying the 3D telecasts as yet.
Panasonic is the exclusive flat-panel HDTV and Blu-ray Disc player advertiser for NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
More than 200 hours of 3D telecasts are to be produced using Panasonic 3D technology and shown on next-day delay in the U.S.
The sponsorship will underscore the company's multiple roles as a manufacturer of 3D-enabled plasma and LCD TVs, 3D production equipment, and content production enabler.
Panasonic Corp. of North America CEO and chairman Joseph M. Taylor said this year's CES presentations will serve to underscore the company's expanding role in electronics beyond A/V entertainment hardware.
"The pace of change in the consumer electronics industry has accelerated remarkably in the past few years, and our customers' needs are changing along with the definition of who our customers are," Taylor said. "Their needs go well beyond traditional consumer electronics, and so we are changing too. In fact, we are moving to redefine who we are beyond traditional consumer electronics by adding new products and services in energy management, web-connected and networked products, and even more entertainment and information products for consumers and businesses, alike."
In traditional CE announcements, Panasonic unveiled its 2012 line of Smart Viera FullHD 3D HDTVs and FullHD 3D Blu-ray Disc players. Of the 17 models in the CE maker's 2012 plasma lineup, 16 feature the 3D technology, while five of the 14 LED/LCD HDTVs provide 3D capability. In addition, Panasonic unveiled two new larger screen sizes in the LED family, 47 and 55 inches.
Meanwhile, Panasonic said Time Warner's Flixster movie app will be available this year on Panasonic's line of Viera Connect devices, including HDTVs and Blu-ray players, to let consumers watch UltraViolet movies and TV shows directly on the devices.
In addition, Panasonic said it will use Ooyala's online video-syndication platform to bring new content to Viera Connect devices. The Country Network will be the first publisher to participate.