Panasonic has announced its 2013 range of TVs, and there’s some interesting technology here. First, the company was keen to promote its smart TV platform. It’s improving that this year, with something called My Home Screen. This is a customised user interface that allows users to log in and see their favourite apps and services in one place. To support that, some TVs will have a camera which can identify the viewer and log them in automatically. Very cunning, we have to say.
2013 Plasma TVs
Panasonic’s flagship model is the ZT60. This is the TV for people who really care about quality. Panasonic is billing it as “beyond the reference” picture quality using a “studio master” panel. The technology here is about removing the air gap between the front glass panel of the TV and the plasma itself. This, it’s said, eliminates reflections and improves brightness. This TV comes in 60 and 65-inch variants.
The ZT range is also compatible with the newly announced Touch Pen, which allows you to modify images on screen, tablet style. You have to buy this accessory separately, and we’re not entirely sure who will. We can see uses for it in schools and for kids in general, but we’d be surprised if most people would rush to buy such an accessory.
You get Viera Connect too, which gives you access to Panasonic’s apps for YouTube, Skype and Facebook. Android users, with the YouTube app on their phone can also share video from their phone, build playlists and use their handset as a glorified remote control.
The VT60 is 2D and 3D certified by THX too, so you can be pretty sure the picture quality is going to be very good indeed. Real home cinema buffs can have the screens ISF calibrated too. Panasonic also says that these screens have much better red production, thanks to a new, more pure, phosphor.
The VT60 range comes in 55, 60 and 65 inches and has built-in, side-mounted speakers and a built-in camera. This is used for “recognising” users, and logging them in to use the My Home Screen function, which puts all their favourite smart TV content on a single homepage. Presumably, it will also be used for Skype video calls.
Although there’s no mention of smaller sizes, history suggest that there might be some smaller screens for Europe, as it’s unusual not to have a 50-inch panel in among the massive screens the company has announced today.
TVs in the ST60 series come in 50, 55, 60 and 65-inches and have full HD 3D, with two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses in the box . You get My Home Screen here too, a web browser and swipe and share, which allows you to send content to certain devices and from those same devices, back to the TV. Android and iOS are both supported here.
One thing that struck us as strange this year is that Panasonic’s TVs all seem to have fewer HDMI sockets than before. There are just three on the high-end TVs, and only two on the entry-level S60 and X60 ranges.
2013 LCD TVs with LED backlights
Panasonic’s relatively newfound interest in LCD TVs meant that, at first, it didn’t offer the best screens. After all, it was keen to sell plasmas, a technology in which it has invested heavily over the years. Now though, its full steam ahead with LCD, with magnificent IPS screens and all-LED backlights.
The WT60 is a full-HD 3D set that comes in 47 and 55-inch screens. This series is locally dimmed, so there should be impressive black levels and a 4200 BLS technology offers a clear picture on fast-moving screens, the firm says.
There’s a built-in webcam too, for using Skype and other Viera Connect apps, a first for 2013. As with the plasma range, you also get the MyHome Screen system - which the webcam will allow you to log in just by sitting down to watch TV. There’s the voice guidance, and control too, in case you can’t, or don’t want to use the remote. And as with the plasmas, these TVs can be ISF calibrated.
The DT60 comes with 55 and 60-inch screens and has a full-HD picture. There’s Panasonic’s online features as well as built-in Wi-Fi and the sharing functionality that appears on most of the rest of the TVs announced this year. It’s powered by a dual-core processor too, we’re told.
The ET60 offer 3D on their IPS full-HD screens. There are two sizes, 50 and 55-inches as well as swipe and share and voice guidance - that talks to you, if you have trouble reading things on-screen. There are also E60 and EM60 ranges too. The E60 comes in 42, 50, 58 and 65 sizes. My Home Screen, built-in Wi-Fi and swipe and share are present here too. The EM60 has a slim bezel design, and comes in 39 and 50 inches.
It’s worth pointing out that while all these TVs will make it to the UK, the model numbers are likely to be subtly different. We’ll let you know what the UK models will be, and any significant hardware differences, as soon as we know the details.