Alright, we're crammed into Panasonic's press event, ready for the company to lay some knowledge down on us -- most likely of the 3D variety. We should be starting in a few minutes, so sit back, relax and enjoy all the fruits a profitable relationship with James Cameron's Avatar can offer -- along with plenty other flatter technologies, to be sure.
3:49PM We're out, time for some hands-on with this stuff!
3:48PM Panasonic knows how to keep to a schedule, and there's no time for Q&A.
3:48PM Oh, and that's it!
3:47PM Having a slide problem, but there's a new audio system / photo frame / iPod dock / CD player. Would be a nice one to have a slide for!
3:47PM Talking audio now. The Audio SC-BT730 home theater in the box with built-in WiFi.
3:46PM We're going fast and furious here, another Blu-ray player with a half second boot up time, and a second generation portable Blu-ray player.
3:45PM PP-BDT350. Full HD 3D Blu-ray Player, Viera Cast IPTV enabled, and pumps out the 3D over HDMI 1.4, which is a requirement for the new standard.
3:45PM HDC-TM55 camcorder. Full HD, 8GB storage, 25x optical zoom.
3:45PM New Lumix DMC-FP3. 3-inch touchscreen, the camera turns on when you slide the cover off the lens. Certainly very slim.
3:43PM New Lumix DMC-FP3. 3-inch touchscreen, the camera turns on when you slide the cover off the lens. Certainly very slim.
3:43PM You can take 3D video shot with the Panasonic 3D camera and put it on a 3D Veira Cast TV.
3:42PM Viera Plasma G Series. Not 3D, but still has Viera Cast WiFi and the "Infinite Black Panel."
3:41PM Also leads to higher black levels: "Infinite Black Panel Pro," with 5 million to 1 contrast ratio.
3:41PM All have Viera Cast WiFi with Skype capabilities. Changed the phosphor technology to be able to handle 3D -- we're guessing he's talking an improved refresh rate, something LCD hasn't had any problem with.
3:40PM Viera Plasma V Series. Full HD 3D. 65, 58, 55 and 50-inch models.
3:39PM 100s and 100s of new products, now on to the highlights.
3:39PM Showing a new ad campaign, which shows various handheld shots of Planet Hollywood, ending with "What you just saw... was shot with this camera." It's a GF1. Not bad!
3:38PM Alright, back to product! "Relaunching" the Lumix brand. Oh wait, it's just another marketing move. Ads and retail positioning. We almost feel like we should turn on a TV right now to see if any Panasonic ads on, pleading with us.
3:37PM "A tremendous amount of money," as Bob terms it. And now he's talking up his new Ad Agency...
3:36PM "2010 is a breakthrough year for us at Panasonic, we will spend twice as much as we did last year on talking directly to the consumer." That's a lot of marketing, about 3x the amount they spent in 2008.
3:35PM Improved retail share, including a few weeks of the year that they attained the #2 spot in the display market. Also received more product awards and attained "improved awareness of unique features." Bob compares this to the increased knowledge of a fine wine drinker, and we suppose we'll let it slide.
3:33PM In 2009 Panasonic reorganized in the US to improve response time to market and better perceive needs, along with a new "business process" to save money in distribution.
3:31PM "Panasonic as a company is really focused on serving society. We serve our consumers and we serve our channel partners."
3:30PM "What I'm going to do is give you a brief overview of the highlights."
3:30PM Now introducing Bob Perry, Senior Vice President, to talk device strategy in 2010.
3:29PM More than a third of Skype calls are now video calls.
3:29PM "As easy as a push of the button. My five year old can do it easily, and perhaps more surprisingly: my mother can do it too."
3:29PM "The most natural place to have this video calling experience in the home is the living room."
3:28PM Skype is here. They have over 500 million registered users, adding 300 thousand every day. Accounted for over 8 percent of calling minutes last year internationally.
3:26PM All Viera Cast-compatible TVs will get Skype.
3:26PM The next stage in the IPTV revolution: turning products from one-way passive to two-way active. You guessed it, we're talking Skype.
3:24PM Now on to IPTV: Viera Cast.
3:23PM "Just like everybody today has come to expect stereo sound, I expect in the future everyone will come to expect all of their content in 3D."
3:23PM Jon likes to call James Cameron "Jim," just to rub it in.
3:22PM "3D is not about making gags come off the screen, it's about creating a world."
3:22PM Now here's Jon Landau, the producer of Avatar, to talk 3D. This is a repeat appearance from his IFA showing... way back when before we'd even witnessed Dancing With Smurfs.
3:21PM It's an "entire new world," people.
3:21PM "3D is not just more interesting content, it's content you can step into."
3:20PM In 2010, Panasonic will release a full lineup of 3D HDTVs, 3D Blu-ray players and a 3D HD camera.
3:20PM Now Shiro Kitajima, the president of consumer electronics, is on stage to talk... consumer electronics.
3:19PM We had a bit of a connection hiccup, but we're back on track. DirecTV just announced that it will have three 3D channels this spring. There will be a live 3D broadcast to Panasonic's booth at CES this week, and you can pause and rewind 3D TV just like the regular stuff. The MLB All Stars game will be broadcast in 3D.
3:11PM Panasonic is bringing a full line of 3D TVs to the market this spring.
3:11PM "People all over have seen the experience of 3D TV for themselves. They've seen it in theaters, they've seen it on tour, and now they want it in their home."
3:10PM Number three: Panasonic's 3D TV mobile truck tour.
3:10PM Number two: we now have an industry standard for 3D Blu-ray movies.
3:10PM So, Panasonic's 3D TV commitment. Panasonic is ready to go, for multiple reasons. Number one: Avatar is at over $1 billion in sales worldwide.
3:09PM "What do you think of our HD communications system? ... with airport security these days..." The product should be available later this year.
3:08PM Now he's turning the conference over to Yoshi Yamada.
3:08PM On to the Sanyo acquisition: Panasonic has expanded its range of "eco" products, and this also has something to do with the company's sponsorship of the 2010 Olympics.
3:07PM He just turned a 3D camera on us, as part of Panasonic's end-to-end 3D efforts. He turns the mike over to Matt York from Videomaker magazine, who sits among us and seems to dig on the camera.
3:06PM The company plans to make good on its promise of deliver 3D TV in 2010.
3:05PM It's a demonstration of Panasonic's HD video communication system, they're getting right into the tech.
3:04PM And here we go, the president of Panasonic is addressing us over a very high quality video stream -- on a very large TV.
3:04PM It's almost like nobody else had anything to at 3pm in Vegas on a Wednesday... it's packed!