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Panasonic reveals smart Viera TV range

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Panasonic has unveiled its latest range of Viera Smart TVs which include plasma and LED models and featuring all-new technology.

All of the new panels are wi-fi capable and, even with entry level models, gives users the ability to access online content, apps and games.

Users will also be able to record programs directly from the Viera TVs to a USB external hard drive or an SD card.

Panasonic said it wants to turn home entertainment into home engagement to allow viewers to have a more interactive and connected experience.

The Panasonic Viera TH-P65VT30A plasma 3D panel which will be in stores in August.

PICTURE QUALITY AND 3D

Despite the added bells and whistles and connectivity, Panasonic has not taken its eye off the ball when it comes to picture quality across its entire product range.

Panasonic’s Neo Plasma models feature even deeper blacks and an impressive 5,000,000: 1 dynamic contrast.

Included in the line-up are new LED LCD models which carry the same smarts as the plasma models.

Anti-reflective filters will also reduce reflections even in brightly lit and sunny rooms to help maintain blacker blacks on the screen.

3D is still a big part of Panasonic’s plans and, for the first time, it will be extended to the LED LCD range.

Another first across the entire 3D range, plasma and LED LCD, is the new real-time 2D to 3D conversion.

3D eyewear has also been made much lighter and sleeker. In fact the 2011 3D glasses are half the weight of the bulky 2010 version and can now be charged by USB.

Panasonic’s 3D eyewear is also available in three sizes – small, medium and large.

SMART TV

The Panasonic Viera range offers internet connectivity through either a wired Ethernet connection or via wi-fi to provide a gateway to new content.

The smart TV GUI (graphical user interface) gives viewers an easy to way to navigate the features of the panel with the TV’s remote control.

That content includes access to catch-up TV services like ABC iView and Yahoo7’s PLUS 7.

Users can also listen to internet radio using the SHOUTcast app and even access Facebook and Twitter right there on their TV screen.

These are in addition to the existing services which can be already accessed with recent Panasonic models including YouTube, Picassa and Skype voice and video calling.

Speaking of Skype calling, there is also a new feature which allows callers to utilise a connected Panasonic Blu-ray Disc recorders and 3D Blu-ray Home Theatre system as a video answering machine.

Now if someone calls on Skype and you’re not there to take it, they can be greeted with a pre-recorded video message and then leave their video message for you.

Apps will also play a big part in the Panasonic TV experience with Viera Connect.

The platform will be open to encourage third party developers to create new apps that can be enjoyed on the larger TV screen.

There will also be health and fitness apps which can wirelessly connect via your home network to other devices which monitor heart rate, calories and steps along with wi-fi scales that can track your weight and body fat percentage.

The Panasonic Viera's Connect screen where viewers can access apps and content

SHARING AND RECORDING CONTENT

With DLNA (digital living network alliance) compatibility the Panasonic TVs can access content on other DLNA compatible devices within the home network like Blu-ray recorders, DVD recorder, PCs, media players and smartphones.

Recording content can be done the regular way with an attached Blu-ray, DVD recorder or hard drive recorder.

But a viewer can also record directly from the TV just by attaching an external hard drive via USB or with an SD card.

Other stored video and images on USB and SD cards are also viewable on the Viera panels and supports a wide range of picture and video formats.

The Panasonic Viera 3D eyewear comes in three sizes

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Panasonic is still very much behind the plasma format and the latest panels use even less power than last year’s model.

The luminous efficiency of the Full HD Neo Plasma has been improved by 15 per cent over the 2010 version which delivers higher picture quality and brightness while lowering power consumption.

A built-in Eco Sensor can detect room brightness and adjust the screen brightness automatically.

The Panasonic plasmas all now have a five or six star energy rating while the LED LCDs are now an impressive seven stars – more stars than the energy rating sticker can actually fit.

SIZE AND PRICING

Plasma sizes range from 42-inches to 65-inches and start at just $849.

On the LED LCD side sizes are 32, 37or 42-inches and are priced from $599.

Some models are available now with higher end models due to roll out on stores from next month.