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Panasonic Takes Connected TV to the Next Level With Launch of VIERA Connectâ„¢

Jan 05, 2011 (05:01 PM EST)
URL: http://www.techweb.com/show-press-release/X823246/panasonic-takes-connected-tv-to-the-next-level-with-launch-of-viera-connect.html

VIERA Connect Expands IPTV Offerings on VIERA HDTVs to Include Two-Way Interactive Gaming, Social Networking, Video Streaming, and Health & Fitness Features

VIERA Connect Will Be Open Platform for Application Developers and Device Manufacturers to Create a Broader IPTV Apps Ecosystem

VIERA Connect Market Will Give Consumers the Option to Personalize Their IPTV Experience via a Broad Range of Additional Apps from Third-Party Developers

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Panasonic, a leader in Full HD  technology and connected TV entertainment, unveiled today at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show, VIERA Connect™ -- a significant enhancement of its connected IPTV offerings on 2011 VIERA HDTVs to include a robust collection of applications(1) including expanded video streaming, and two-way interactive features from gaming to social networking, and fitness programs.  Panasonic also unveiled VIERA Connect Market™, a service which allows consumers to personalize their VIERA Connect experience via a rich catalog of apps from third-party application developers and announced that VIERA Connect will be an open IPTV platform with its SDK/API available to application developers and its Middleware technology available to connected device manufacturers.

VIERA Connect expands upon Panasonic's VIERA CAST™ feature which was launched in 2008 on Panasonic VIERA® HDTVs(1).

By collaborating globally with third-party apps developers, Panasonic VIERA Connect opens the doors to an unprecedented wealth of entertainment and information for consumer's daily life with a wide range of apps all specifically optimized for large screen HDTVs.  In addition to popular video applications such as YouTube™, Netflix, and Amazon Video on Demand™, owners of Panasonic's VIERA Connect-enabled 2011 VIERA HDTVs will also be able to:

  • Watch their favorite teams live or catch-up on archived games(5)  via MLB.TV, MLS Matchday Live, NBA Game Time, and NHL Game Center.
  • Catch-up anytime on their favorite TV programs via Hulu™ Plus
  • Play the hottest video games including Asphalt 5.
  • Stay connected with family and friends via Skype™ video calling, Facebook , Twitter, or broadcast to the world via Ustream.
  • Keep in shape and monitor their wellness and fitness with apps from companies including Withings, Body Media, and ICON Health & Fitness.  

VIERA Connect will also allow consumers to personalize their connected HDTV experience to their specific interests through the new VIERA Connect Market -- an on-line store featuring an ever-growing catalog of hardware products, as well as free and paid apps from third party developers.

To promote third-party developer participation, Panasonic is currently partnering with leading IPTV apps developers including Accedo Broadband AB, Wiztivi and Tata Elxsi Limited,  and will open the VIERA Connect Developer's portal where VIERA Connect SDK and API will be provided. To create a broader IPTV apps ecosystem, Panasonic is also collaborating with partners including Access Co., Ltd, to make the VIERA Connect Middleware technology available to other TV, Set-top-box and other device manufacturers and semiconductor companies.

"VIERA Connect builds upon our initial successes with our VIERA CAST IPTV platform and takes connected TV to a whole new level of interactivity for consumers," said Panasonic Corporation of North America Vice President Merwan Mereby who oversees the development of Panasonic's rapidly expanding connected TV features and products.  "VIERA Connect breaks the boundaries of the walled garden structure of initial IPTV programs and delivers an unprecedented, more robust, two-way interactive set of features for consumers to enjoy directly through their Panasonic VIERA® HDTVs.  And with access to a catalog of apps from third-party developers, VIERA Connect™ makes connected TV a truly personal, customizable feature which you can enjoy right from the comfort of your living room."

Since its launch in 2008, Panasonic's IPTV features have grown to include Skype™ voice and video calling(2), Netflix, Hulu, Twitter, Pandora, Amazon Video on Demand™, YouTube™, Picasa™ Web Albums, Weather, Bloomberg, and more. VIERA Connect™ requires no external box or PC(3) and is accessed via a single button on the television remote control.  USB connectivity on VIERA Connect-enabled HDTVs also enables the addition of a wireless LAN adaptor (802.11b or faster), a keyboard for more efficient navigation and communication, and USB memory which supports AVCHD video and JPEG photos. There is no fee to use the VIERA Connect functionality(5).

Highlighting Panasonic's VIERA Connect offerings in 2011 will be a library of gaming titles including advanced games from Gameloft (Asphalt 5) as well as casual gaming titles from Accedo (strategy), Aim At Entertainment (card, board game, and strategy), and Oberon (arcade, card, and game shows).  VIERA Connect will also feature health and fitness apps from companies including Withings, BodyMedia, and ICON Health & Fitness.  The Withings app will offer the ability for users to measure and track their weight and body mass index via a wireless scale –  the Withings Wi Scale – which interacts directly with the Panasonic VIERA HDTV.  BodyMedia's app will enable users to wear a wireless arm monitor – the BodyMedia FIT Armband BW -- that tracks steps, calories burned, heart rate and other vital signs and wirelessly communicates them to the VIERA HDTV.  ICON's iFit app will enable wireless communication with select exercise equipment including a treadmill so users can track their progress and key vital signs during and after workouts.

Following is an overview of the range of applications that will be available on VIERA Connect-enabled Panasonic VIERA HDTVs in 2011(4).  For information on Panasonic's VIERA Connect IPTV feature, visit www.panasonic.com.


2011 VIERA Connect Planned Apps(1)

Bolded apps are new for 2011


VIDEO

Amazon Video On Demand™

CinemaNow

Break.com

Dailymotion

Ustream

Hulu™ Plus

Netflix

YouTube™


HEALTH & FITNESS

A&D

BodyMedia FIT Armband BW

iFit.com from ICON Health & Fitness

Tanita

Withings WiScale


MUSIC SERVICE

Napster

Pandora


GAMES

Accedo Funspot

Aim at Entertainment

Gameloft

Oberon I-playTV


NEWS & INFORMATION

AccuWeather

Associated Press

Bloomberg News

Dow Jones

eBay


SPORTS

FOX Sports

MLB.TV

MLS Matchday Live

NBA Game Time

NHL Game Center


SOCIAL NETWORKING

Facebook

Picasa™ Web Albums

Skype™

Twitter





About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company:

Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC), a market and technology leader in High Definition television, is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations.  Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth's natural resources and protect our environment through the company's Eco Ideas programs.  Information about Panasonic products is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom

Notes

(1)  Specific go-live dates and availability details for 2011 VIERA Connect™ applications will be announced at a later date.  Currently, VIERA Connect features will be available on 2011 VIERA Connect-enabled HDTVs.  

(2)  Skype video calling requires a Skype-enabled camera available from Panasonic, sold separately, to make video calls.

(3)  Access to a broadband internet connection is required to access VIERA Connect features.

(4)  Some 2011 VIERA Connect applications will only be compatible with 2011 VIERA Connect-enabled Panasonic VIERA HDTVs due to specific technology requirements required to activate certain applications.  

(5)  There is no fee to use the VIERA Connect functionality however some services such as Netflix Amazon Video On Demand, and league sports sites have a separate fee structure to view movies and sports events.

SOURCE Panasonic