Panasonic’s Viera Connect goes live with debut of HDTVs
Panasonic has hit the market with its 2012 Smart Viera HDTVs, first announced at CES in January.
The TV sets in the product line are all broadband-enabled and mark the debut of Panasonic’s Viera Connect, which provides access to a set of apps, including connections to several over-the-top (OTT) and independent on-demand services.
Viera Connect also includes a first foray into home broadband networking – with a fitness application. Viewers can buy an armband that includes monitors that can translate activity into data, such as calories burned doing a workout. The armbands are Bluetooth-enabled. Another device Panasonic is offering is a body mass scale; these scales connect to the TVs via Wi-Fi.
Panasonic touts its ability to provide “an infinite number” of apps through its cloud-based Connect service. The initial set of apps is certainly finite, however.
Just as many OTT boxes do, Viera TVs offer connections to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora and other Web-based media outlets.
Viewers will also be able to access the Web-based content available from various major sports leagues, including Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.
There is also the obligatory connections to Skype, Facebook and Twitter, along with access to a handful of common games (blackjack, chess, Reversi).
The new Vieras include small- and mid-size-screen plasma, LCD and LED models, with some larger models (55 inches) set to be commercialized in April and May.