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Panasonic Ramps Up 3D, ‘Viera Connect’

LAS VEGAS – Panasonic unveiled here Wednesday its second-generation
3D plasma TVs and first-generation 3D LCD TVs, as it underscored efforts to
foster further production of 3D content.

Trying to eliminate another 3D barrier, Panasonic North America
CEO Joseph Taylor said the company is also working with other manufacturers to standardize
3D glasses in order to stimulate 3D TV adoption.

The company also unveiled its newly revamped and renamed Viera
Connect IPTV system (formerly called VieraCast), and showed a Viera tablet,
designed to stream Internet content in the home and to work as a visual remote
control for various home components, including Viera TVs.

The Viera tablet, which is positioned more as a TV companion
product than a true tablet PC, is based on the Android operating system. It
will enable access to cloud services through Viera Connect, while also doing duty
as a visual remote control and a sub screen that could offer different viewing
angles of programs, such as sporting events.

Other features include communicating via social network services
while watching TV, and ordering online shopping items while watching infomercials
or home shopping channels.

The tablets, which are slated to be available to the global
market within the year, will be available in 4-inch, 7-inch and 10-inch screen
sizes, but other specs and details were not disclosed.

Panasonic said it is looking to form alliances with major
companies in various industries to offer new content services through the
forthcoming cloud service network. An exact launch date was not announced.

To promote further 3D content production, Panasonic said that it
is setting up a 3D Innovation Center at its Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory.
There, filmmakers from around the world will be taught 3D shooting and
production techniques.

Looking forward, the company expects 3D TV sales to accelerate
significantly as more 3D content becomes available to consumers, said Shiro
Kitajima,  Panasonic consumer sales head.
He cited forecasts of 3D TV sets accounting for 32 percent of global television
sales in three years.

Kitajima said holiday consumer technology sales increased 30
percent over the previous year. In addition, sales of TVs with larger screen sizes
continue to grow, with 54-inch-plus screens seeing “unprecedented demand” from

In line with its end-to-end 3D promotion strategy, which encourages
more and more home-grown 3D material, Panasonic will release five new 3D
camcorders – including the HDC-SD90, HDC-TM90, HDC-TM900, HDC-HS900 and

Meanwhile, the Viera Connect format will add two-way features,
supporting gaming and social networking among other things, in addition to
providing live streaming of entertainment, fitness and Skype.

Jim Sanduski, Pansonic sales senior VP, presented new 3D TV
lines, including the new entry 3D ST30 series, with an Infinite Black 2 panel.

The GT30 series adds THX certification, a thin panel design, and four
HDMI ports.

The flagship VT30 series brings an Infinite Black Pro 2 NeoPDP
panel with a single sheet of glass design, THX certification, four HDMI inputs,
three USB ports and an RS232C/ISF connection.