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Panasonic VIERA Connect™ Platform Continues To Re-Define The TV Experience In 2013 With Enhanced Connectivity Features, Popular New Apps And Exciting New Partnerships

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Panasonic, a leader in Full HD and Smart TV technologies, announced today at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show a new wave of applications1 and enhanced connectivity features1 that will debut on its line of 2013 VIERA Connect –enabled Smart VIERA HDTVs including more robust options for streaming and sharing photo and video content via tablet and Smartphone devices, and the launch of an on-line shopping experience which will take shopping via HDTV to a whole new level of interaction.

VIERA Connect is Panasonic's connected TV platform which enables owners of VIERA Connect-enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc Players and Home Theater Systems access to a wide range of internet-based video-on-demand content and applications covering everything from news and fitness, social networking, music and online shopping and gaming.  VIERA Connect requires no external box or PC2 and is accessed via a single button on the television remote control.

New Apps for 2013
Panasonic's 2013 additions will feature exciting new apps for children, music enthusiasts, on-line shoppers, and movie/TV lovers adding to an already robust line-up of interactive apps.

  • HSN – The HSN Shop by Remote® app for Panasonic VIERA Connect-enabled devices offers consumers the opportunity to browse and shop from thousands of brand name products.  Utilizing HSN's patented Shop by Remote technology, this highly advanced shopping app allows viewers to get detailed product information, read customer reviews, watch video demonstrations and then make a purchase, all with just a few clicks of their remote from their VIERA Connect-enabled HDTV or Blu-ray Disc player.
  • YouTubeSend to TV – YouTube was among the first apps available when Panasonic's IPTV feature debuted in 2008 featuring access to select areas of YouTube.  In 2012, VIERA Connect featured a completely new UI and redesign with full access to the YouTube user experience previously enjoyed only via the web giving users access to YouTube's full library of user postings, music videos, movies, and 100 channels of original programming.  For 2013, YouTube Send to TV adds a new dimension of connectivity to the mix.  Users can download the new YouTube app to their Smartphone and tablet devices that enables them to send a YouTube video from their device to their Smart VIERA HDTV.  The icon will automatically appear  in the YouTube app on your phone or tablet when it is connected on the same WiFi network as your TV.  No wires or pairing codes are necessary.  Users simply call up the video and then hit the "Send To TV" button and the video will transfer.  Users will be able scroll, fast forward, rewind, and pause the video and even send it back to their smart device. Since the devices are connected in the cloud, users can find the next video to watch on their device or browse around the web while the video plays on TV. The app also enables the user to connect multiple devices to the TV so their friends can add to the play list.
  • SHOWTIME® Preview Go behind the scenes, watch webisodes and sample free full episodes for some of the network's critically-acclaimed, award-winning original series.

Also new for 2013 are apps from:

  • Children – Disney Publishing Worldwide, Nextbook Story Books
  • Lifestyle -- CNET (consumer electronics)
  • Video Content -- Flixster, 3Doo, ScreenMedia, Redux, Moving Art
  • Music -- Rhapsody, Tune-In
  • Foreign Language -- Kylin TV (China), Zee TV (India), Total Movie (South America), Crunchyroll (Asian drama and anime)
  • Fitness -- GAIAM (wellness products and streaming videos)

VIERA Connect-enabled HDTVs feature built-in Wireless LAN and provide USB connectivity which enables the addition of a wireless keyboard and gaming controllers for more efficient navigation and communication.  There is no fee to use the VIERA Connect functionality4.

"Through our VIERA Connect platform, we have been able to re-define and significantly expand the power of the TV in your home," said Merwan Mereby, Panasonic's Vice President of Interactive Content & Services.  "When we debuted VIERA Connect in 2008, it offered simple access to a sampling of popular content sites.  In 2013, VIERA Connect transforms our Smart VIERA HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players into the centerpiece of the consumer's connected world with access to a seemingly endless menu of content, much of which can also be shared seamlessly between the consumer's other smart devices and those of their family and friends.  We are proud to partner with YouTube and HSN, leaders in their respective fields, to launch category-breaking apps and technologies on our VIERA Connect platform which will change the way consumers interact with their TVs."

An Already Impressive Line-up of Apps and Features
First introduced in 2008, Panasonic's VIERA Connect offerings already include a robust collection of many of the most popular applications for social networking (including Skype™ voice and video calling3, YouTube™, Facebook, and Twitter), video content (including Amazon Instant Video™, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and Ustream), gaming (Accedo Funspot, Gameloft, and PlayJam), fitness (including BodyMedia, ifit, and Withings), music (including Pandora and Shoutcast) news and information (including AccuWeather, Associated Press, and WSJ Live) and more.

VIERA Connect also offers a growing list of technological features including an optimized-for-TV Web Browser, VIERA® Remote App for Smartphone and Tablet devices including the new Swipe & Share 2.0 – a feature which enable users to transfer the memorable moments they capture on their Smartphone or tablet devices directly to the large screen on 2013 VIERA Connect-enabled Smart VIERA® HDTVs with a simple swipe of the finger and transfer them back to their smart devices.  VIERA Connect also features Social Network TV which enables viewers to watch TV while also using their Skype video calling, Twitter and Facebook feeds simultaneously on the same screen.

VIERA Connect Availability
More than 75% of Panasonic's 2013 line of VIERA HDTVs will feature full or limited access to VIERA Connect features.  Full VIERA Connect access will be  available on a wide range of Smart VIERA®  HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc Players and Home Theater Systems including:

  • VIERA Plasma HDTVs – ZT60, VT60, and ST60 Series models
  • VIERA LED HDTVs – WT60, DT60, ET60, E60 Series models
  • Blu-ray Disc Players -- DMP-BDT230, DMP-BDT330
  • Media Streaming Players -- DMP-MST60
  • Home Theater Systems – SC-BTT190, SC-BTT195, SC-BTT490

Support of HTML5
To promote third-party developer participation, Panasonic introduced in 2011 the VIERA Connect Developer's portal where VIERA Connect SDK and API were provided to third-party developers who wished to submit apps for inclusion on the VIERA Connect Smart VIERA platform.

In addition to the reputable and well-recognized Ajax-CE, a JavaScript-based API, Panasonic's VIERA Connect SDK will now include a fast-growing HTML5 API. While Ajax-CE continues to provide the industry best TV UI experience, HTML5 will bring in more opportunities of accessing a large number of industry-wide apps. Adoption of HTML5 also makes it easier for traditional web content to be optimized for TV and find its way to the large HD screens. 

Smart TV Alliance
In an effort to bring unity to the fragmented development environment created by multiple proprietary Smart TV platforms, in December 2012 Panasonic has joined the board of Smart TV Alliance to facilitate a creation of a large and productive ecosystem for Smart TV application development, that enables software developers to create applications once for many different platforms and provides consumers with a rich source of content and services.  Along with other Smart TV Alliance members Panasonic will be working on the new combined SDK that will include the latest trends and features available for developers so that they could create innovative and exciting applications services.

VIERA Connect Market
In 2011, 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. The VIERA Connect Market was also among the first IPTV platforms to sell products including Panasonic LUMIX Digital Cameras and Camcorders, and SD Memory Cards as well as third-party peripherals including game controllers.

For information on Panasonic's VIERA Connect Smart TV platform visit www.panasonic.com.

About Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America, 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, offers a wide-range of consumer solutions in the U.S. and Canada. The Company's portfolio of innovative consumer products ranges from VIERA Full HD 3D Televisions, Blu-ray players, LUMIX Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Home Audio, Cordless Phones, Home Appliances, Wellness and Personal Care products and more.

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. In the 2012 Interbrand Annual Best Global Green Brands ranking, the Panasonic brand jumped four spots to number six: http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/Best-Global-Green-Brands/2012-Report.aspx. Follow Panasonic on Twitter @PanasonicUSA, and additional company information for media is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.

Notes

1  Specific go-live dates and availability details for 2013 VIERA Connect™ applications will be announced at a later date.  Some 2013 VIERA Connect applications will only be compatible with 2013 VIERA Connect-enabled Panasonic VIERA HDTVs due to specific technology requirements required to activate certain applications.

2  Access to a broadband Internet connection is required to access VIERA Connect features.

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

4  There is no fee to use the VIERA Connect functionality however some services have a separate fee structure to view movies and sports events and certain apps available via VIERA Connect Market require an additional fee.

SOURCE Panasonic

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