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Panasonic bets big on Smart-talking TVs for 2013

Campbell Simpson | March 22, 2013
New ‘My Home Screen’ customisable Smart TV interface, voice control and sharing

Even more useful is the company's Voice Guidance feature, built into the majority of its LED-LCD and plasma TVs, which reads out various TV menu functions and the text of Web pages. Combined with Panasonic TVs' existing support for audio description, the new range of VIERAs may have a unique appeal to blind or vision-impaired buyers.

Panasonic TVs 2013: Apps

The streamlined interface and speech-to-text-to-speech features comprise the majority of Panasonic's Smart update; no new streaming partnerships or exclusive apps deals were announced. It is still possible that Panasonic's TVs will support the no-contract Foxtel Play subscription Internet TV service upon its launch in June, although this is looking less and less likely.

Panasonic's app environment, the VIERA Connect Market, is reasonably strong despite being smaller than LG or Samsung or Sony's; video streaming major players in Quickflix, BigPond Movies on Demand, ABC iView, SBS On Demand are all available. Panasonic has a 'Swipe and Share' feature included in its Image App for iOS and Android that lets users display photos, video, and other content from their smartphone or tablet directly on a TV screen with a simple flick.

Panasonic TVs 2013: Picture quality

Panasonic's plasmas have had their annual boost in image quality thanks to the company's research -- this year plasma TV buyers can expect 'Focused Field Drive' refresh rates up to 3,000Hz, more steps of gradation for smoother colours and a higher range of brightness, and a wider colour gamut courtesy of red phosphor improvements.

LED-LCD panels benefit from improvements in backlight scanning on premium models, promising to remove flicker through a more complicated lighting setup -- the premium WT60 claims a 3,600Hz backlight scanning rate that should approach plasma in terms of moving image clarity. The top WT60 and DT60 series LED TVs have a Super Clear Resolution processor that promises to improve the quality of HD and lower resolution content compared to past models.


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