Secaucus, N.J. -
announced the availability of the company's initial wave of 2012 Smart Viera plasma, LED and LCD HDTVs.
Panasonic said models in the ST50, UT50, and XT50 plasma series and the E50, ET5, E5 and X5 LED series will be available this month. Also announced were ship dates on LED LCD TV models, a 47-inch (available this month) and 55-inch (available in April and May).
The 2012 LED LCD model line features 16 models this year, up from seven a year ago.
Panasonic is also spreading 3D capability among the new sets and is advancing its Viera Connect IPTV platform to, among other things, include an open web browser in select models.
Viera Connect is a Cloud-based architecture supporting open app development.
Energy efficiency was also improved this year in both LCD and plasma models. The 2012 Viera plasmas use a newly improved phosphor mixture and more efficient electronics to deliver a better picture at lower power levels, Panasonic said.
New LCDs employ advanced LED IPS (in-plane switching) panels that reduce on-mode power consumption by about 25 percent compared with last year's models, the company said.
Black level performance has also been boosted in 2012 Smart Viera plasma HDTVs, and the LCDs feature improved response times.
Many models also use Panasonic's "glass and metal concept" in cosmetic design.
Select Smart Viera plasma models employ NeoPlasma Black 2500 to provide a crisp image with 2500 FFD (Focused Field Drive) technology even when the content shows very fast motion, and to control the light, which enables viewers to see subtle details in dark scenes, with the new 24,576-steps super fine gradation.
The 2012 panel further reduces reflections and creates sharper pictures with higher contrast in brighter environments. In addition, a new panel structure with improved filter and pre-discharge control technology contributes to an increased native contrast level.
All 3D models include DLNA connections to network with PCs and other devices to share digital entertainment content between similarly configured devices.
The Smart Viera LED lineup continues to benefit from the addition of the IPS LED Panel technology.
The 2012 LED models deliver a wide viewing angle with almost no picture degradation at off-angle viewing and offer up to 1,920 backlight scanning for higher moving picture resolution during fast action scenes, with a reduction of afterglow resulting in a smooth, crisp image.
The high-performance, high-speed, high-transmittance panel materials contribute to the 178-degree color viewing angle, high contrast performance and fast response time, which in turn dramatically reduces artifacts and 3D crosstalk.
The first Smart Viera plasma series to hit the market features self-illuminating panels with deep black levels and Neo Plasma technologies, providing an Infinite Black Filter with a high-efficiency panel that generates the best balance of black and white under bright environments.
Select 2012 models employ the NeoPlasma Black 2500 (VT/GT/ST), a 2 million pixel dimming driver, a new custom driver LSI and a fast switching phosphor panel on all of Panasonic's 1080p 3D models.
The ST50 series is the first of Panasonic's 2012 plasma models to ship.
The 50-inch TC-P50ST50 and 55-inch TC-P55ST50 are now available, while the 60-inch TC-P60ST50 and 65-inch TC-P65ST50 will be available in March and April, respectively.
The ST50 models include the Infinite Black Pro panel; FullHD 3D; Viera Connect with a web browser and built-in Wi-Fi; 1080p Full HD resolution; 2500 FFD (Focused Field Drive); fast switching phosphors; 2D-to-3D conversion; Social Networking TV, which allows the user to simultaneously view a program on the TV and connect with their Twitter and/or Facebook account on the same screen; 3D Real Sound with 8-train speakers; Media Player; Bluetooth; DLNA; Viera Link; three HDMI connections and two USB ports.
The 42- and 50-inch FullHD 3D UT50 series models will be available later this month.
The 55-inch TC-P55UT50 and the 60-inch TC-P60UT50 models will be available in April and May, respectively. All offer 3D 1080p resolution, Viera Connect (Wi-Fi ready), 2500 FFD, fast switching phosphors, 2D-to-3D conversion, Social Networking TV, media player, Bluetooth, DLNA, Viera Link, two HDMI connections and two USB ports.
The XT50 series is a value-series line with 3D capability and online movie streaming. The 50-inch TC-P50XT50 offers 720p HD resolution and 2D to 3D conversion; Bluetooth; Media Player; DLNA; Viera Link; two HDMI and two USB connections and will be available this month.
The E50 series features mostly larger-sized LED LCD TV models with slim-design cabinets, including the 42-inch TC-L42E50, 47-inch TC-L47E50, and the 55-inch TC-L55E50. All offer 360 backlight scanning, improved resolution of fast-moving images, 1080p, Viera Connect, Social Networking TV function, DLNA, a PC input, four HDMI terminals and two USB ports.
The series is Wi-Fi ready and Energy Star certified.
The ET5-series models are Panasonic's first 3DTVs to use passive polarized 3D glasses, and four pair will ship with each set. The 47-inch TC-L47ET5 and 55-inch TC-L55ET5 ship this month while the 42-inch TC-L42ET5 ships in April. The ET5 models incorporate an IPS LED panel, 360 backlight scanning, Viera Connect with built-in Wi-Fi and browser, 2D-to-3D conversion, Social Networking TV function, media player, DLNA, Energy Star compliance, four HDMI and two USB terminals, and a PC input.
The four E5-series LED LCD TVs available this month include an IPS LED panel, 1080p resolution, online Movies, DLNA networking, four HDMI terminals, two USB ports, a PC input, Wi-Fi connectivity and Energy Star compliance.
Also available this month is the 32-inch LED LCD TV model TC-L32X5, featuring the IPS LED panel, three HDMI and one USB connections, and an SD memory card slot.
Panasonic's top-of-the-line plasma series, the VT50 and GT50, will be available later this month and in April. Top-of-the-line LED models will begin shipping this month, starting with the TC-L47DT50. It will be followed by the TC-L55DT50 (shipping in April) and the TC-L55WT50 and the TC-L47WT50 (both shipping in May).
Below are the suggested retails for the models shipping this month:
- TC-P50ST50- $1399, 50 inches
- TC-P55ST50 - $1699, 55 inches
- TC-P60ST50- $2099, 60 inches
- TC-P42UT50- $799, 42 inches
- TC-P50UT50- $1099, 50 inches
- TC-P50XT50- $799, 50 inches
- TC-LL42E50 - $899, 42 inches
- TC-L47E50 - $$1099, 47 inches
- TC-L55E50 - $1699, 55 inches
- TC-L47ET5 - $1299, 47 inches
- TC-L55ET5 - $1899, 55 inches
- TC-L32E5 - $499, 32 inches
- TC-L37E5 - $599, 37 inches
- TC-L42E5 - $679, 42 inches
- TC-L47E5- $849, 47 inches
- TC-L32X5 - $399, 32 inches
Pricing for the remaining 2012 models will be announced as they prepare to ship.