Panasonic has announced that the Vieralink functionality on its televisions has been expanded with a range of European content partners. Heading up the list is movies-on-demand service Acetrax, and there's also support for VoiP service Skype, news site Euronews, music video offering Qtom and French video sharing site DailyMotion.
The price of renting a movie ranges from 79p upward, with 2009's Star Trek setting you back £3. You can also buy the movies permanently - which gets you a license to stream the film on your TV as many times as you like, and a second downloadable copy to watch on a computer. It's stuffed full of Windows Media DRM, however, meaning that Mac and Linux users will be out of luck.
The Skype offering is interesting - plug in a proprietary webcam, and you can have pc-to-tv, tv-to-tv or tv-to-phone conversations with your Skype contacts. The webcam has four microphones built in - Panasonic says that it needs them to cope with the number of people who tend to be involved in a TV webcam chat compared to a regular computer one. It hooks into one of the television's several USB ports.
Of course, all this relies on you being able to hook up your television to the Internet - something which is possible on all the TVs that offer Panasonic's Vieralink service. You can either do it with the ethernet port on the back, or plug a wireless dongle in - Panasonic provides one or you might have some luck with an existing dongle, company reps told us.
If you've got a Vieralink television already, then the new features should roll out as an over-the-air update. Otherwise, the service is available on the majority of Panasonic's 2010 range.