Panasonic has extended upon its CES Viera announcements with the go-ahead for its 2009 United Kingdom line-up. The UK line this year will feature both LCD and plasma sets including the V10, G15, G10 and S10 ranges, as well as the flagship Z1 line.
The extremely thin Z1 plasma sets feature full wireless HD signal transmission, THX certification, DLNA compatibility, plus DivX playback. The V10 line, which includes both LCD and plasma displays, sports a dynamic contrast ratio of 2, 000, 000:1 in its top-end plasma set, while the G15 line has Viera Cast internet TV, DLNA and Viera Link. The G15 line also features both LCD and plasma sets.
While prices and availability haven't been officially announced, the 2009 Panasonic Viera's should be available in the United Kingdom soon. All of the UK releases will have region-specific features including a built-in Freesat tuner.
Future internet-connected TV's, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players using Broadcom chips will feature Chumby widgets in the future. What's a Chumby you say? If you're a pure gadget geek you'd know what a Chumby is--basically a cross between a digital picture frame and alarm clock radio. Definitely not a mainstream device. But with this new deal, Chumby's 1000-odd content widgets including CBS, The New York Times, Pandora and The Weather Channel, will definitely bring Chumby a bigger user base. And the best part? If you can't find a widget you want, you can create your own.
Philips revealed today that it's adding Net TV to its 8000, 9000 and Cinema 21:9 high-end HDTV lines. Net TV connects viewers to the internet right from the TV screen. Navigation is accomplished using the remote and certain partner websites will be optimized for the respective display. Some of those partners include TomTom, YouTube, eBay, MeteoGroup, Funspot, MyAlbum and Netlog, all of which will have a simplified layout and larger text that can be seen from a distance. The internet in general will still be accessible through Net TV, but you'll likely find many sites that don't format probably to the TV screen.
The Philips 8000 series will require a wired connection to use Net TV, but the 9000 series and Cinema 21:9 lines will both be able to connect to a wireless router over Wi-Fi. The company says the service will launch in April and over time more formatted content will be added including location-specific channels for non-English speakers.
Holy smokes! When most of the big name HDTV makers are cutting back production and in some cases leaving the TV market altogether, two companies have announced intentions to move INTO the United States.
Honeywell has tapped Taiwan's Soyo to make, market and sell Honeywell-branded LCD TV's running from 19 to 82 inches. Did you get that? 82 INCHES! Yep, Honeywell will have four separate lines--which we partially heard about in January--the top-end of which is the Altura LE series. The LE series will include 47-, 57-, 65-, 70-, and 82-inch LCD TV's, all with 1080p resolution, a 120 Hz refresh rate, a 178 degree viewing angle, a trio of HDMI inputs, picture-in-picture, SRS audio and a glossy black finish. The 82-inch features a 120, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and weighs a massive 303 pounds. Honeywell will begin shipping the new lines soon in all the usual places.
Meanwhile, GE and Taiwan's Tatung have created a joint venture called General Displays and Technologies and will begin shipping GDT HDTV's this April.
Despite a tough 4th quarter in 2008 for most retailer, flat panel maker Vizio did just fine. A recent report by iSuppli revealed that the company shipped its most HDTV's in one quarter ever, and increased its year-over-year sales by 15%. The growth placed Vizio as the number two bestselling HDTV brand in the United States, with its overall growth being the fastest of every manufacturer. While the study didn't specify LCD versus plasma shipments, Vizio's choice to cut its plasma production for good recently indicates that LCD sales accounted for the majority.
Bye, bye, KURO. Pioneer has confirmed it's exiting the television business as of March 2010 to focus on car electronics. Unfortunately that means that not only are we losing the best plasma TV's in the world, but 10, 000 Pioneer employees will lose their jobs. Just yesterday Vizio announced it would kill off its plasma production to focus solely on LCD TV's.
The folks over at EngadgetHD have confirmed via a Mitsubishi rep that the company has temporarily suspended production of the LaserVue HDTV. Citing a "problem with manufacturing equipment used to produce" the laser-based set, Mitsubishi says it is "taking the necessary action to ensure that the company resumes production as quickly as possible" and expects to resume production early in the year. Let's just hope all those LaserVue's shipped so far don't end up displaying a fatal fault somewhere down the line!
Panasonic has always taken 3D seriously, but by next year it expects to bring "3D Full HD" to Blu-ray. It'll be helped along by its own 3D authoring lab opened today at the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory in California. Dubbed 3D FHD, Panasonic seems to be hinting that the format or whatever you'd like to call it will be an official 3D standard. And if that's the case, I can't wait until 2010 to see what kind of products roll out to accompany it.