Panasonic Launches Internet-Ready Plasma Line

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New York — Cognizant that more and more consumers are looking for new ways to engage with the Internet through their big-screen high-def TV sets, Panasonic showcased here Tuesday its soon-to-ship PZ850 series of Viera 1080p HD plasma TVs, featuring Viera Cast technology.

Panasonic shows a 46-inch 1080p plasma set with Viera Cast Internet connectivity due to hit retail shelves shortly.

The four-model, high-end line, which has distribution targeted through specialty A/V and value-added sales accounts, includes an Ethernet port to connect with in-home networks. Users will have access to YouTube videos, Bloomberg news, sports and weather updates, and Google’s Picasa online digital image storage library and slideshow system.

Using a built-in SD card slot, consumers can plug digital image files from a camera or camcorder directly into the television set.

The options are made available through an easy-to-access user interface menu, which Panasonic said it plans to update with further choices and service partners. The sets can connect to wired in-home Internet networks, or through Wi-Fi, using optional wireless Ethernet adapters.

Models in the line include the 46-inch TH-46PZ850 ($3,099 suggested retail), 50-inch TH-50PZ850 ($3,499), both shipping this summer, the 58-inch TH-58PZ850 (available in the fall at $4,299) and the 65-inch TH-65PZ850 (fall, $7,999).

All models feature 1080p resolution and 24p native frame rates, SD card slots with support for H.264 HD video and digital photo files. Other features include a Pro Setting Menu with professional calibration software tools, a 30,000:1 contrast ratio and 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, Digital Cinema Color Re-Mastering and a Studio Reference Mode that stretches the red and green color gamuts from the ATSC standard to reproduce levels intended by film makers.

For video gamers, the sets include a Game Mode, which minimizes the time lag when displaying game images on the plasma screen, Panasonic said. Connectivity options include four HDMI ports, and a PC input.


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