Panasonic Ramps Up 3D, ‘Viera Connect'

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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 consumers.

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 HDC-SD800.

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.


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