August 12, 2010
Netgear has become the first third-party hardware manufacturer to produce a gadget that supports Panasonic Viera HDTVs. Panasonic has chosen Netgear to provide Viera owners access to online content via a wireless connection. The connection will be provided by the Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter which features a simple setup via Push 'N' Connect technology. Once set up, Viera owners can view Amazon VOD, YouTube, Picasa, Viera Cast weather and stock market information, along with tons of other internet content directly from the TV. You can currently purchase the Netgear N600 for $79.99.
May 12, 2010
Yesterday in New York City, Panasonic was flaunting the world's largest plasma television, its 152-inch 3D model. Built to order for those with a ton of cash to burn, the 152-inch TV features 4k x 2k resolution, the equivalent of 9 50-inch displays, weighs 1500 pounds and costs somewhere in the region of $500000. Quite a bit north of the company's former largest 103-inch model.
April 22, 2010
Panasonic has announced the TY-CC10W, a Viera-compatible webcam geared toward the non-techie crowd. Apparently simple to use, Panasonic's Skype camera allows for 720p video and active noise cancellation to over-the-set video conversations via a USB 2.0 plug-in. Once plugged in, a Skype option will be added to the usual onscreen menu with the added ability of browsing your contact list and adding new ones directly from the user interface.
On sale June 11, the Panasonic TY-CC10W Skype camera is expected to price in the neighborhood of 18, 000 yen or slightly under US $200. Unfortunately it'll only work with Viera HDTVs, so don't plan on plugging this one into your Bravia or home desktop PC.
March 8, 2010
Best Buy will be rolling out 3D Panasonic HDTV gear this Wednesday, according to HDGuru.com. The equipment will launch as part of a special promotion at 250 Best Buy outlets across the United States and will include a kick-off at the Union Square location in New York City. The initial hardware available will include the Panasonic TC-P50VT20 plasma 3D HDTV and DMP-BD350 3D Blu-ray player. By March 21 the big-box electronics retailer will also have Samsung 3D gear available in over 900 stores. It appears that the Panasonic equipment will initially only be available for demonstration purposes and will require active-shutter glasses. The Samsung gear will be available for purchase (it's also up for pre-order at Sears) and will include a 3D copy of Monsters vs. Aliens and a pair of glasses.
March 4, 2010
The folks from FlatpanelHD recently took Panasonic's new G20 plasma--the 42-inch version--for a test drive and were blown away. The successor to the G10 series features 5, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, 8 bit video processing, THX certification and a ton of inputs. Not surprisingly, given the G20 uses Pioneer's old KURO technology, the test results were nice. If you're looking for fork out a bit of cash for some quality technology, the G20 is a catch. On the other hand, if you've already purchased a G10 you're doing quite well too. The G20 didn't really improve on its younger sibling in the black level or networking categories.
February 17, 2010
Contrary to what some believe, plasma TVs are still alive and well. Especially over in South Korea where today LG announced a pair of Skinny Frame plasmas, 50- and 60-inches big. The Skinny Frame refers to bezel thinness, of course, which is a paltry 25mm. Not the skinniest around by any means but skinny nonetheless. The new LG plasmas also offer a 600 Hz refresh rate, ambient lighting adjustments, and the ability to playback pictures and music from a plugged-in USB drive. No word on whether the Skinny Frames will ship internationally, but for now South Koreans can pick up the 50- and 60-inch sets for 1.7 million (US$1150) and 3.8 million won ($3325), respectively.
January 18, 2010
Panasonic has announced the VIERA G2 and S2 plasma series in Japan today. The G2 family includes 3 42-inch plasma displays with brown, silver and black bezels, plus 46- and 50-inch displays. With Panasonic's new PDP Black panel, the VIERA G2 series manages a 5, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio with 1080p resolution. It also includes an ambient light sensor and motion sensors that automatically adjust screen brightness in order to both improve picture quality and save energy.
Connection options include 3 HDMI, 3 composites, an S-video, VGA and D4 input, and 4 RCA slots and an Ethernet port. All the sets also have an SD card slot for playing back AVCHD camcorder video and JPEG photos and are capable of streaming web video content from the acTVila service. Shipping February 5 in Japan, the VIERA G2 series ranges in price from $2400 for the 42-inch display to $3530 for the 50-inch model.
The Viera S2 series includes 42- and 46-inch displays that have similar features to the G2 family but scrap both the VGA connection and the PDP Black display which reduces the S2's contrast ratio to 2, 000, 000:1.
January 6, 2010
While Samsung is a formidable world competitor in the LCD HDTV industry, it still hasn't given up plasma like so many of its colleague companies. At CES 2010 today, Samsung announced the 8000, 7000 and 6500 Series plasma HDTVs.
Each includes Internet@TV, compliance with Energy Star 4.0 standards, and both the 7000 and 8000 Series are capable of 3D processing.
The Samsung 8000 Series has a brushed titanium bezel and a variety of proprietary picture-enhancing technologies such as Real Black Filter, Motion Judder Canceller and CinemaSmooth.
The Samsung 7000 Series has a brushed black bezel and its 58-inch variant won the "Innovations Honoree" award at CES 2010.
Finally, the Samsung 6500 Series is the entry-level family that includes Touch of Color design.
Read--2010 Samsung LCD HDTVs
September 28, 2009
3D HDTV is all the rage right now despite the fact that the entire home theater industry niche consists of prototypes. But Panasonic says it is well on its way to developing a 50-inch 3D plasma HDTV as part of a "full HD 3D system" that will consist of a line of 3D-capable Blu-ray players as well. The electronics maker believes that the 50-inch display size will become the most popular in living rooms around the globe, and the 3D plasma set could be released in North America, Europe, and Japan as early as 2010. The set will also be on display as a prototype at CEATEC in Japan on October 6.
Panasonic's 3D technology uses "crosstalk reduction technology" which minimizes on-screen ghosting, in addition to active-shutter glasses which alternate left and right eye images in sequence and in line with the system's refresh rate. Active-shutter technology enables viewers to see 1080p resolution in both eyes, while most other 3D glass technologies split the resolution equally between each eye.
September 18, 2009
Panasonic introduced an interesting screen this year in its G10 series--54-inches--occupying a middle-ground between the typical 50-inch and 56-58 inch screen sizes. CNET recently reviewed the 54-inch TC-P54G10 and (no surprise here really) it performed quite well, netting an overall 4/5 score. On the good side, the P54G10 showed "superb black-level performance with excellent shadow detail," accurate primary colors and grayscale in THX mode, great color saturation, VieraCast internet connectivity, and excellent energy efficiency. On the not-so-good side, inaccurate secondary magenta and cyan coloring, poor lighting in THX mode, a lack of picture controls, and more power-consuming than comparably sized LCD HDTVs. Overall though, it appears that the 54-inch TC-P54G10 is a solid buy. You can grab it for $1558 here. It comes with a $20 Amazon Video on Demand credit if you make the purchase by September 30, 2009.
September 3, 2009
Panasonic has updated its V10 plasma line this morning over at IFA. Added are the 58-inch TX-P58V10E and the 65-inch TX-P65V10E, the larger siblings to the 42- and 50-inch V10s already available. Spec-wise, Panasonic decided to remain consistent: NeoPDP 1080p panel, 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 600 Hz sub-field drive technology, VIERA CAST internet content, and THX certification. Still waiting on pricing and availability.
September 2, 2009
$30, 000 for an HDTV? That's a little much for me, but if you want something the size of four 42-inch plasmas put together, you have to pay. Next month, Panasonic is debuting the 85-inch TH-85PF12U plasma, which the company says is the "industry's first 85-inch, full HD, 1080p panel." It employs Panasonic's fairly new NeoPDP picture enhancement technology which has had some good reviews so far, so hopefully this giant puts out a better picture than some of the mammoths we've come across before.
August 25, 2009
Hitachi this morning added five new HDTVs to its Wooo TV line, all packing an internal 500 GB hard drive for storing downloaded or recorded video content. The three plasmas, sized 42-, 46- and 50-inches and two LCDs, sized 37- and 42-inches, all feature 1080p resolution, automatic brightness control, DLNA media streaming, an iVDRS slot, and HD storage of up to 400 hours on the internal hard drive. The plasmas, in order mentioned above, will sport price tags of $3000, $3500, and $4000, with a shipping date of September 10 in Japan. The LCDs will cost $2500 and $3000 for the 37- and 42-inch models, respectively, with an expected shipping date in October. So far Hitachi hasn't mentioned plans to ship the five new Wooo HDTVs outside of Japan.
August 15, 2009
I have to admit: the direction of the HDTV market is tough to predict. In the first quarter of 2009, HDTV sales grew despite the worst global economy in decades. Now, as the second quarter reports begin to appear, research firm Quixel Research says that plasma TV sales were the fastest-growing. This despite reports and predictions of the demise of plasma for a couple of years now.
This wasn't a small amount of growth either. Plasma TV sales in Q2 were up 31% in volume and 35% in value from Q1, just south of $1 billion in sales. The key takeaway from the report though was more significant. The real plasma growth was in the 42-inch 720p class of plasma HDTVs, more of a value proposition than newer, larger and higher-resolution models.
The growth in plasma does seem to stem from its relative value to LCD models in this quarter alone. Or maybe it has something to do with the 'load of crap' LCD specification revelation. In all seriousness, these plasma numbers may seem counterintuitive because they are. A dynamic of pricing in one quarter alone rather than an indication of a longer-term trend.
You can check out the report here (PDF).