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Panasonic Selects Families For HD Promo

New York — Panasonic said it is selected the first four families for its Living in High Definition promotional program in association with researchers from the Center for Urban Research and Policy at Columbia University.

Selected families include: the Benders from Rutherford, N.J.; the Harris family from Denver, Colo.; the Rockford family from Granada Hills, Calif.; and the Miller-Williams-Rawlins-Magill family from San Diego. Panasonic said the families were selected “because of their unique stories and needs.”

The families are charged with exploring how the latest high-definition television and video technologies will impact people’s lives. The program, which will explore how the latest high-definition television and video technologies can enrich the American lifestyle, will select 30 families to live in a $20,000 suite of high-definition products between August 2007 and March 2008.

Products include a large-screen 1080p plasma television, HD camcorder, digital cameras, Blu-ray Disc player, laptop and photo printer, home theater system and gaming system.

Each of the inaugural Living in HD families has a different story to tell:

The Benders are a family of six living under one roof as “a close-knit group of hard workers — especially dad James, who currently works three jobs to support the family.” This fall the family will open their first Italian restaurant.

The Harrises are labeled “an environmentally conscious, world-traveling family” with two children who are award-winning athletes. The family enjoys spending time together and reaching out to others through their church and feeding the homeless.

The Rockfords ranges in age from their 12-year-old daughter, a dancer, to a 79-year-old grandmother who watches wrestling three nights a week. Between caring for six pets, attending sci-fi conventions and participating in Japanese festivals, there’s never a dull moment in this family, said Panasonic.

The Miller-Williams-Rawlins-Magill group is described as a “not blood-related family” of male surfers who spend every weekend together surfing. They also go camping as a group and take an annual two-week vacation to visit a different destination around the world.

“Through these four families, we can truly begin to learn how each of them will change as they begin to live life in high definition,” Paul Liao, Panasonic North America chief technology officer and VP.

The family members will use the range of HD products to document their lives and complete a monthly Panasonic-assigned challenge that demonstrates their ability to come together as a family using that technology. Videos introducing each of the families can be viewed at www.Panasonic Ideas For Life – Living in High

Throughout the course of the program, select footage from the challenges will also be posted on the Living in HD Web site.

The content created by these families will also be incorporated into a documentary film to provide a historical record that captures the interaction of families encountering new HD technology for the first time. Brett Ratner, producer and director of movies including “Rush Hour 3” and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” will serve as creative advisor to the documentary, along with other film makers.

The second assignment in the program is to document “What Does A Modern Family Mean to You?”

New families will be added to the program on a regular basis and the study will continue through February 2008. Families who are interested in applying can submit an application, including a description of their family, detailing why they would benefit from this program and how they would complete the next challenge: “What Does A Modern Family Mean to You?” Phase II applications are being accepted now through Sept, 29.