Panasonic Australia yesterday announced the launch of its 2012 line of home entertainment collection, featuring 39 products including TVs and Airplay-enabled speakers, among other media peripherals. The line is specifically designed for multiple-device integration, controlled using the company’s free app for iPhone and iPad to manage content streaming and sharing in real time.
Panasonic held a press event in Sydney yesterday to introduce and demonstrate how some of its key products worked as part of a home entertainment network. Macworld Australia attended the launch and was given the opportunity to view the company’s new-look collection and experience how this might change the way we consume media in our homes in the future
The most prominent product category of the new line was the Smart TV series, where the focus was all about online connectivity and five key design elements that Panasonic says puts the range at the top of the market, they are; picture quality, easy operation, networking, ecological features and aesthetic design .
Matt Pearce, Group Marketing Manager, VIErA at Panasonic Australia said, “This new Smart VIErA range offers consumers the very best in TV technology and combines the key elements that we believe make a TV not just good but great. From impressive picture quality on all models to a host of networking features that are all easy and intuitive to use, this range is our best yet.”
Based on these key elements, the TVs come with a range of features, for simple operation and ecological mindfulness. Most interesting was its integration with iOS and commonly used gestures of a touchscreen, which have been implemented in a new touch remote control for some of the TV models, operating on a series of swipes and taps.
Panasonic introduced remote control capabilities via a smartphone or tablet device to access mobile content on the TVs. The Smart VIEtA Remote App Version 2.0 (available on iOS and Android platforms) lets viewers tap and flick through content like movies, images and music stored on their mobile device directly to their VIERA TV.
Taking inspiration from the functionality of touchscreens, the VIErA VT50 and WT50 Series come with a VIErA Touch Pad Controller, which lets you browse the web and other apps using commonly used swipe and tap gestures. These models also feature multi-tasking functionality, so you can open several web pages at once on your TV.
Given its cloud-based architecture, the VIErA Connect system allows a large volume of apps and is available on some, but not all, models in the range. In addition, new content providers have come on board with the VIErA line, including BigPond Movies, (with a library of 4,000 titles on demand) and Quickflix, offering access to unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows direct to the TVs.
Social, online and wireless
The VIErA range for 2012 adds a web browser and social networking feature, so that social media fans can use their Facebook and Twitter accounts and interact with others while they watch TV. Users are able to input text directly to their screen using an iPad, Smartphone, optional keyboard or VIErA’s Touch Pad Controller.
Smart VIErA has inbuilt DLNA capability and Wi-Fi for full access to multimedia (photos, videos, music) stored in multiple locations in the home and streamable to TVs.
The 2012 range incorporates an eco-conscious design. Eco Mode on the new Plasma and LCD TVs adjusts screen brightness to reduce power consumption and turns the power off when there is no activity or signal.
The VIErA LED LCD line-up looks appealing with its metal design features – it’s minimalist and modern approach and the TVs sit unobtrusively in a room. Despite its huge list of added features, the form of the units are slim and sleek.
Our overall first impressions of the TVs, given our limited time with them, was that an attention to detail on each of Panasonic’s key elements outlined above has inspired a line of Smart TVs that integrate our everyday iOS devices and borrow from the familiar gestures of touchscreen operations. This makes for an intuitive collection, where multiple devices can be accessed and simultaneously used in the home, with social, sharing and streaming capabilities from online, on-demand media and TV content sources.
The VIErA TV range includes 10 new Plasma and 13 LED LCD models. The new products will be rolled out from April 2012 with various price points.
Also featured in Panasonic’s 2012 collection are several HD 3D Blu-ray home theatre Systems and Airplay-enabled speaker home speakers. The complete line of products will be available from consumer electronics retailers in the coming months.
For more information contact Panasonic on 132 600 or visit www.panasonic.com.au.