Oh, and you'll obviously need a new setup to view said content, and that's where Panny comes in (again). The outfit unleashed a new range of 3D-capable (thanks, RealD!) Viera plasma HDTVs and Blu-ray 3D players, and all it takes to enjoy mind-melting 3D content in the comfort of your abode is "a stylish and lightweight pair of active-shutter glasses." Oh, joy. The complete line will be fleshed out later this Spring, with screen sizes ranging from 50- to 65-inches. In one of the most brilliant moves of the show, Panny's also including just a single set of 3D glasses with its multi-thousand dollar televisions, which is sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Sir Buyer who has to plop down an extra hundie or two to get specs for the whole family. At any rate, the DMP-BDT350 Blu-ray player will handle 1080p content in both the second and third dimension. The last bit is new partnerships with Netflix, Skype, Twitter and Pandora (among other outlets), all of which are being added to the Viera Cast library that's accessible on select Blu-ray players and HDTVs. Catch the full rundown after the break... if you dare.
PANASONIC UNVEILS WORLD'S FIRST INTEGRATED
FULL HD 3D CAMCORDER AT CES 2010
Available In Fall 2010 - Solid-State Recording System Will Offer
Highly-Efficient Full HD 3D Video Production
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 6, 2010) – Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) will release the world's first* professional, fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder in Fall 2010. The company will begin taking orders in April. Engineering samples of the professional Full HD 3D solid-state camcorder will be exhibited at the Panasonic booth (Las Vegas Convention Center, Main Hall, #9405) at the 2010 International CES in Las Vegas, USA, from January 7-10.
This Full HD 3D camcorder will offer the following core benefits:
Easier to Use
Current 3D systems are large-scale setups in which two cameras are fitted to a rig in parallel, or vertically intersect across a half-mirror. Separate recorders are also required. In Panasonic's new Full HD 3D camcorder, the lenses, camera head, and a dual Memory Card recorder are integrated into a single, lightweight body. The camcorder also incorporates stereoscopic adjustment controls making it easier to use and operate.
The twin-lens system adopted in the camcorder's optical section allows the convergence point** to be adjusted. Functions for automatically correcting horizontal and vertical displacement are also provided. Conventional 3D camera systems require these adjustments to be made by means of a PC or an external video processor. This new camcorder, however, will automatically recalibrate without any need for external equipment, allowing immediate 3D image capture.
The solid-state memory file-based recording system offers greater flexibility to produce Full HD 3D videos in more challenging shooting environments. The camcorder is lighter weight and smaller than current 3D rigs, while providing the flexibility of handheld-style shooting. Setup and transportation is simplified, making it ideal for sports, documentary and filmmaking projects.
Solid-State Reliability and Workflow
Right and left Full HD video streams of the twin-lens 3D camcorder can be recorded as files on SDHC/SD Memory Cards, ensuring higher reliability than on other tape, optical disc, HDD or other mechanical-based recording systems. This solid-state, no-moving-parts design will help significantly reduce maintenance costs, and the 3D camcorder will be better able to perform in extreme environments and be more resistant to temperature extremes, shock, and vibration.
And users will enjoy a fast, highly-productive file-based workflow, with instant, random access to recorded content; easy plug-in to both Mac and PC-based platforms; and longer recording capacity.
Using a standardized, fully integrated design, the Full HD 3D camcorder will be offered at a much lower price than traditional 3D rigs. Transportation expenses for this handheld unit will be less and faster setup times reduce labor costs. Using standard, re-recordable SDHC/SD Memory Cards available already everywhere, media costs become almost insignificant.
In addition to a camcorder, Panasonic also plans to offer a professional-quality 3D Full HD LCD monitor for field use as well as a professional HD digital AV mixer for live event production. Panasonic will offer professional production equipment to allow video professionals to efficiently create 3D content, so consumers can enjoy 3D video using Panasonic 3D home theater systems.
Major Specifications (tentative)
- Product Name: Twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder (made-to-order)
- Suggested Retail Price for Main Unit: $21,000
- Available: Fall 2010 (made to order)
- Power Consumption: Under 19 W (main unit only)
- Weight: Under 3 kg (main unit only)
- Recording Media: SDHC/SD Memory Card
* As an integrated twin-lens Full HD 3D camcorder capable of recording Full HD 3D video to Memory Cards. As of January 2010 (based on our investigation)
** The point at which the left and right-camera lenses' optical axes converge
Movie companies and content producers are eager to produce more 3D content. 3D video is set to become a mainstream motion picture technology. In response to the resurgence of 3D movies, in September 2009, Panasonic proposed the world's first 3D home theater systems, based around 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc players and Plasma TVs (announced and exhibited at CEATEC 2008). In February 2009, the company established the Advanced Authoring Center (within Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory) – at which 3D movies are authored for replication on 3D Blu-ray Discs (announced at CES 2009). Currently, producing 3D movies is a painstaking process. Panasonic intends to promote the production of high-quality 3D video content by accelerating the development of 3D video production systems designed to boost production speed and efficiency.
Differences from conventional 3D camera systems:
Conventional 3D camera systems are built from two off-the-shelf film or broadcast cameras. Normally, the two cameras are installed horizontally and side by side, with the right and left camera axes approximately 6.5 cm apart – equivalent to the distance between the human eyes – to create binocular parallax. This can be done with small cameras, but broadcast or film cameras cannot be installed side by side since their bodies and lenses are too large. They must be installed vertically using half-mirrors, or mounted on metal frames called rigs, using prisms. This results in a bulky system that must be carefully adjusted to prevent the right and left cameras from going out of alignment before image capture. In addition, if the system is moved, the shock or vibration inevitably puts the cameras out of alignment, making frequent re-adjustment necessary.
In this fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder that Panasonic has developed, the two lenses, camera head, and memory card recorder are incorporated into a single compact housing. Unlike large 3D camera systems, this camcorder allows video shooting with greater mobility and from all angles; significantly reducing the time required for set up and adjustments, thereby leaving more time for creative activities.
Convergence Point Adjustment
The convergence point is the point at which the left and right cameras' optical axes converge to produce 3D images. To take natural-looking 3D video, the convergence point needs to be adjusted to match that of a human's eyes, whose convergence point varies according to the closeness of the objects being viewed. Panasonic's new Full HD 3D camcorder adopts newly-developed twin-lens system that realizes convergence point control with its integrated design.
PANASONIC SHOWCASES THE FUTURE OF
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS AT CES 2010 BOOTH
Debut of Full HD 3D TV for the Home, Expanded Connectivity and Eco-Focused Solutions Highlight Panasonic's CES Offerings
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 6, 2010) – Panasonic (NYSE: PC), a worldwide leader in High Definition Flat Panel TVs, will showcase its latest home entertainment products, green technologies and energy initiatives at the International Consumer Electronics Show from January 7 through January 10 in Booth 9405 located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
At today's CES press conference, Panasonic unveiled a wide range of digital products that will be on display in its booth, unveiling its first Full HD 3D Home Theater System and a range of 3D-related products. Also announced were Panasonic's 2010 Full High Definition flat-panel VIERA TVs, Blu-ray Disc Players, LUMIX Digital Cameras, and HD Camcorders.
Panasonic revealed at today's press conference significant advances made in home networking technology including wireless data transmission of high-quality video, and a major expansion of internet connectivity for video and audio devices, for inside and outside the home, including VIERA CAST services which will be found on many 2010 VIERA HDTV and Blu-ray Disc Player products.
Panasonic's CES Booth will feature:
Panasonic Full HD 3D Theater
Visitors to the Panasonic booth can enter the immersive world of Full HD 3D TV technology in Panasonic's 130-seat Full HD 3D Theater. The theater, which features the world's largest 3D Plasma display (152 diagonal inches), will give guests an opportunity to experience Full HD 3D technology for the home, learn more about how the technology works and see Panasonic's entire line of Full HD 3D VIERA Plasma TVs scheduled to debut later in 2010. The theater will also be used to show a variety of special presentations by industry VIPs.
Full HD 3D End-To-End Solution Zone
Panasonic is also demonstrating its groundbreaking end-to-end Full HD 3D technology - from solutions for capturing 3D video to authoring 3D Blu-ray entertainment software to displaying 3D entertainment content on 3D home theater systems. The Full HD 3D End-to-End Zone features Panasonic's broad range of 3D consumer and professional commercial products, including:
· Full HD 3D Camcorder– The Full HD 3D Camcorder records to a SDHC/SD Memory Card instead of tape. The twin-lens Full HD 3D Camcorder has been developed for 3D filming for independent filmmakers and professional videographers.
· 3D Authoring Systems -- Panasonic is rapidly advancing the development of new 3D authoring systems, beginning with 3D image compression technology based on the MPEG-4 AVC High Profile Video Encoder, made possible by Panasonic's long history of collaboration with Hollywood movie studios.
· Full HD 3D Home Theater Systems – Panasonic heralds the birth of a new global 3D market in which TV viewing styles will evolve from just "watching" to actually "feeling." Panasonic has developed a Full HD 3D Home Theater System consisting of a VIERAPlasma Full HD 3D TV, 3D Blu-ray Player and Active Shutter 3D Glasses which will enable consumers to enjoy the immersive and stunning world of Full HD 3D movies and TV in the comfort of their homes. Utilizing Panasonic's high-speed 3D drive technology and crosstalk reduction expertise, Panasonic's 3D system delivers a Full 1080p HD 3D image. Panasonic's Full HD 3D Plasma TVs will be available in 50", 54", 58" and 65" class sizes and will work in sync with Panasonic's 3D Blu-ray Disc Player and Panasonic's High-Precision Active Shutter Glasses to provide the most realistic images ever seen in video.
· Wireless Full 1080p HD 3D Connectivity – At CES 2009, Panasonic announced the Plasma Display "Z series" which includes a wireless transmittance module based on the standard "Wireless HD 1.0".
At this year's CES 2010, the wireless 1080p Full HD 3D transmission system being introduced represents an evolution of current Wireless HD which can transmit
uncompressed 1080p Full HD 3D signals standardized by the Blu-ray Disc
Association. Panasonic plans to accelerate the process of standardization of uncompressed 1080p Full HD 3D signal transmission for next generation Wireless HD using this technology.
3D Content Zone
Panasonic is showcasing a wide range of 3D entertainment that has been created by many of the world's leading Hollywood movie studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney Pictures and DreamWorks for the big screen first and now for the home. In addition, Panasonic has joined forces with DIRECTV to bring consumers 3D content via DIRECTV satellite broadcasting services. Featured at the booth will be the nation's first commercial 3D broadcast made possible by the two companies' cooperation.
VIERA CAST /Internet-Enabled TV Corner
As more consumers acquire a taste for accessing the Internet while watching television, Panasonic has responded by expanding the range of its easy-to-use Internet-enabled VIERA CAST features. Since its introduction in 2008, Panasonic's VIERA CAST feature has been widely acknowledged for its distinctive internet application, allowing the consumer to view targeted sites on a large HDTV, rather than a small computer screen. VIERA CAST requires no external box or PC. VIERA Cast is accessed via a single button on the television remote control and there is no fee to use the VIERA Cast functionality.
This year, Panasonic is announcing major expansions to its offerings with Skype, Twitter, NetFlix, Fox Sports, and Pandora joining the growing list of VIERA CAST web-based offerings which already includes Amazon Video On Demand, YouTube™, Picasa Web Albums™, Bloomberg News and weather information.
Since Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita first voiced the importance of "environmentally conscious development" more than 40 years ago, Panasonic has actively focused on environmental activities. The company's strong commitment to environmental preservation is highlighted within the Panasonic Eco Corner. The Eco Corner showcases a range of environmentally-friendly consumer electronics solutions as well as educates visitors on Panasonic's Energy Vision, including environmental initiatives spanning diverse global business activities, and its strong focus on achieving environmental innovation.
Panasonic will showcase at CES 2010, its most recent development of a new Plasma display panel (PDP) that boasts quadruple luminous efficiency1), marking a major breakthrough in PDP technology.
The new quadruple luminous efficiency panel evolved from Panasonic's NeoPDP developed in 20082) and NeoPDP eco panel developed in 20093) with twice and triple the brightness of its 2007 models, respectively.
DIRECTV AND PANASONIC BRING 3D HOME
DIRECTV – First Television Provider to Launch 3D in the Home –
Will Soon Deliver Three Dedicated 3D Channels
Presented by Panasonic
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 6, 2010) – DIRECTV, the world's most popular television service, and Panasonic, a world leader in HDTV and digital electronics, announced today a strategic relationship that, for the first time, will bring 3D TV, the next frontier of television entertainment, to the largest audience nationwide. Beginning in June 2010, millions of DIRECTV HD customers will receive a free software upgrade enabling them to have access to three dedicated 3D channels through their 3D television sets, such as Panasonic's VIERA Full HD 3D TVs.
Panasonic will be the exclusive presenting sponsor of DIRECTV's new HD 3D channels, which will deliver movies, sports and entertainment content from some of the world's most renowned 3D producers. DIRECTV and Panasonic will leverage current relationships with programming partners and movie studios to obtain new and existing 3D content. DIRECTV is currently working with AEG/AEG Digital Media, CBS, Fox Sports/FSN, Golden Boy Promotions, HDNet, MTV, NBC Universal and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to develop additional 3D programming that will debut in 2010-2011. The sponsorship will feature Panasonic branding on all DIRECTV 3D channels for a one-year period.
"We led the way with HD and we are excited to do the same with 3D," said Eric Shanks, executive vice president, DIRECTV Entertainment. "Adding the most HD channels to our lineup gave customers a viewing experience that was incredibly lifelike; adding 3D to the mix will take that one step further allowing them to become part of the cast as the picture comes to life in their living rooms. We are taking a technology that at one time could only be seen in a theater and bringing it into the living rooms of the largest audience in the United States. By partnering with Panasonic, we are bringing together two industry leaders to deliver the most advanced television technology available today and together we are continuing to set the standard for the best television viewing experience available."
"Panasonic has been developing 3D standards for television for several years, and we believe it represents a fundamentally new experience in home entertainment because it adds the immersive nature of real life," said Yoshi Yamada, chairman & CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. "Our relationship with DIRECTV is a core component of our 'end-to-end' strategy of building out an entire 3D entertainment ecosystem. From leading the development of the Full HD 3D standard for Blu-ray Disc to launching Full HD 3D stereoscopic prosumer camcorders; to now supporting broadcast of 3D content by DIRECTV; to introducing a broad line of Full HD 3D VIERA televisions and a Full HD 3D Blu-ray player in 2010; our commitment to 3D is unquestioned in the industry."
At launch, the new DIRECTV HD 3D programming platform, powered by Panasonic, will offer a 24/7 3D pay per view channel focused on movies, documentaries and other programming, a 24/7 3D DIRECTV on Demand channel and a free 3D sampler demo channel featuring event programming such as sports, music and other content.
In addition, Panasonic is working to make available 3D production tools, such as Full HD 3D camcorders, professional monitors and related production technology assistance.
Panasonic will showcase its suite of Full HD 3D VIERA televisions and home theater system products tuned to a dedicated DIRECTV 3D channel with exclusive content from the motion picture, "AVATAR" and other sports, entertainment, documentary and music footage at its booth (Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall, #9405) at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
For more information on Panasonic's Full HD 3D Technology, visit www.panasonic.com/3D.
PANASONIC INTRODUCES FULL HD 3D TECHNOLOGY
Full HD 3D VIERA® Plasma HDTVs and Blu-ray 3DTMPlayer Create Groundbreaking Visual Experience
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 6, 2010) - One year after announcing a major commitment to the development of Full HD 3D television, Panasonic has today made good on its promise by introducing a complete lineup of Full HD 3D consumer products. The new range of Full HD 3D1-capable VIERA Plasma HDTVs and a fully-featured Blu-ray 3DTM Disc player will bring a new era of immersive visual entertainment into consumers' homes, by creating a 3D experience that easily rivals the best that can be seen in cinemas.
By delivering a full 1080p-resolution image to each eye, Panasonic's Full HD 3D technology offers consumers the highest possible visual experience. To enjoy Full HD 3D programming, users wear a stylish and lightweight pair of active-shutter glasses.
"We've successfully moved from black and white, to color, to high definition television. But immersive, totally realistic 3D imagery has been the final frontier," said Bob Perry, Senior Vice President, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "With Panasonic's new line of Full HD 3D products, we have now conquered that as well."
Panasonic will launch a complete line of fully-featured Full HD 3D VIERA Plasma HDTVs in spring 2010, at suggested retail prices to be announced at a later date. Models will range in screen size class from 50 to 65-inches; they include the TC-P50VT20 and TC-P50VT25 in 50-inch class screen size (49.9" measured diagonally) ; the TC-P54VT25 class 54-inch class model (54" measured diagonally); the TC-P58VT25 class 58-inch class model (58" measured diagonally); and the flagship TC-P65VT25 class 65-inch class model (65" measured diagonally); one pair of Panasonic 3D Eyewear is included in above models. Recognizing the innovative quality of the Panasonic Full HD 3D VIERA Plasma HDTV, the Consumer Electronics Association named the Full HD 3D plasma TV a winner of its prestigious 2010 Innovations Award.
Panasonic's new 3D Full HD Blu-ray Disc player, model DMP-BDT350, also received the Consumer Electronics Association's esteemed Innovations Award for its innovative 3D technology. The player outputs stunning, rock-solid, and immersive Full HD 3D imagery to compatible displays. The player also handles a wide variety of audio standards, and upconverts all standard definition video formats to 1080p. The BDT350 will also play standard Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and CDs.
Panasonic first demonstrated its Full HD 3D technology during the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, to an enthusiastic response from dealers and press alike; since then, thousands of American consumers have had the opportunity to experience Full HD 3D thanks to a fleet of fully-equipped Panasonic Full HD 3D coaches that have toured major cities throughout the nation.
To create the best possible 3D picture, Panasonic has developed new, faster screen phosphors; coupled with its 600Hz sub-field drive, the new displays output alternating imagery at 60 frames per second to each eye. The brain then combines the images and interprets them as 3D.
In addition to its new 3D technologies, each Full HD 3D Plasma model incorporates a rich set of advanced features. VIERA CAST™, Panasonic's innovative Internet programming package, gives viewers the ability to access feature films plus information and communication offerings including Amazon Video on Demand™, Bloomberg News, Fox Sports, Netflix™, and Skype™ on Your VIERA TV, among others.
VIERA Link™ allows Panasonic owners to control their VIERA Link-compatible audio and video products with just one remote. With VIERA Image Viewer™, HD home movies and photos are easily displayed using an accessible SD Memory Card slot with its music slideshow functionality. And THX® Certified Display certification insures that every Panasonic Full HD 3D TV displays motion pictures and television content with exactly the quality and color palette that the director intended.
With Panasonic's demonstrated "eco ideas" commitment to minimize the impact of its products on the environment, all new Full HD 3D plasma panels are designed with an effective screen half-life of 100,000 hours, or over 30 years of TV viewing, eight hours per day. To cut toxic waste when the television does reach the end of its life, all models are manufactured without using mercury or lead.
Panasonic's new Full HD 3D Blu-ray player DMP-BDT350 utilizes groundbreaking technologies incorporated in Panasonic's proprietary UniPhier LSI chip, enabling the player to flawlessly process the large quantity of visual information necessary to create a Full HD 3D image in 1920 x 1080 resolution. Adaptive Chroma Upsampling insures that colors will be faithfully reproduced; and all native digital DVD formats are upscaled to 1080p resolution quality.
The new Full HD 3D Blu-ray player incorporates all features expected in a high-end product, including VIERA Cast Internet link, BD Live, 7.1 channel lossless audio, as well as Dolby® True HD and DTS™ HD audio formats. Digital still photographs and HD video can be easily viewed through the player's SD Memory Card slot. And VIERA Link enables all compatible audio and video products to be controlled with one remote.
For more information on Panasonic's Full HD 3D Technology, visit www.panasonic.com/3D.
PANASONIC ADDS MAJOR NEW CONTENT AND FEATURES TO VIERA CAST™ HDTVs AND BLU-RAY DISC PLAYERS
Netflix™, Skype™, Pandora, and Other Sought-After Providers Enhance Critically-Acclaimed Service
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 6, 2010) -- Panasonic, the industry leader in high-quality Plasma and LCD HDTVs and a major developer of the Blu-ray format, announced today that Fox Sports, Netflix, Pandora, and Twitter services, and the Skype on Your TV application, will be added to its 2010 application lineup of VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray players. The new services bring additional high-quality Internet content to Panasonic's broadband-connected devices, enhancing the user experience and creating the perfect home entertainment centerpiece. With these new features and applications, Panasonic owners will now be able to access the latest sports news and information, thousands of additional popular movie and television titles, their favorite musical artists and songs, and even make calls directly from their Panasonic HDTV.
The new entertainment sites join and complement VIERA CAST's current offerings, including Amazon Video on Demand™, YouTube™, Picasa™ Web Albums, Bloomberg News, and a weatherapplication.
To make the online experience seamless, Panasonic is also adding USB connectivity to its VIERA CAST HDTVs. With the new input, consumers can create a wireless Internet connection and use a wireless keyboard, making it even easier for those without adjacent Ethernet access to enjoy VIERA CAST services. And, by connecting USBdrive, viewers have even more ways to enjoy their music and photos on a large-screen, picture-perfect display.
In addition, an upgrade to the VIERA CAST user interface makes application access even faster and give the user the flexibility to customize the Viera Cast Menu screen.
VIERA CAST's host of Internet-based services is accessed through a simple one-button on Panasonic remote controls. By offering VIERA CAST functionality to select Blu-ray players, even those not currently in the market for a new HDTV can enjoy the added attraction of enhanced Internet programming.
"With the addition of these five great offerings, Panasonic continues its leadership role in providing its customers with the ultimate in High Definition content," said Merwan Mereby, Vice President, New Business Development, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "By giving consumers the best HDTV displays coupled with an extraordinary range of program services and options, Panasonic is once again setting the standard for home entertainment. Panasonic makes a point of listening to its customers and we saw that the Netflix service was an entertainment option that many users valued. So, for 2010 we have added Netflix to an already robust line-up. And the addition of Skype provides our customers with the ability to make voice and video calls from the comfort of their living room."
About the new VIERA Cast features
Fox Sports offers Panasonic owners continually-updated scores, stats, and sports news, available without leaving the program in progress.
Netflix unlimited members can now instantly watch thousands of TV episodes and movies streamed from Netflix on new VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs.
Pandora gives music lovers the opportunity to create their own unique "stations" playing just the type of music they love, and to listen to it directly through their Panasonic VIERA CAST HDTV and home theater systems.
Skype on Your TV integrates the powerful and popular Skype software application directly into Panasonic HDTVs. Skype software allows users to make free voice and video calls to other Skype users. Owners can now make and receive Skype voice and video calls directly from select new HDTV models. To conduct a Skype video call on a VIERA CAST HDTV, a specially-designed high-performance Panasonic camera, which is sold as a separate accessory, is simply plugged into the television. The camera includes a special microphone system that can easily pick up sound from couch-distance. Plus, it will deliver up to 720p high definition video quality depending on the consumer's internet bandwidth.
With Twitter access, owners of VIERA CAST-enabled Panasonic HDTVs can Tweet and discover what's happening now without needing to leave the comfort of their TV viewing room.
SKYPE AND PANASONIC ANNOUNCE COLLABORATION TO ADD SKYPE SOFTWARE TO VIERA HDTVs
Collaboration Takes VIERA CAST TM -Enabled HDTV Connectivity to New Level, Offering Voice and Video Communications via HDTV
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (January 5, 2010) – Panasonic Corporation, a worldwide leader in High Definition technology and built-in TV web entertainment, and Skype, a leader in internet communications, today announced a collaboration that will enable consumers to make voice and video calls over Skype™ on Panasonic's line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs planned for launch in spring 2010.
This collaboration takes Skype to another platform, in addition to the computer and the mobile phone, which is the technology heart of the home, the television. Skype on your VIERA® delivers many familiar Skype features including:
* Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
* Calls to landline or mobile phone at Skype's low rates
* The option to receive inbound calls via a user's online Skype number
* Skype voicemail, if you have it set up
* Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
"The addition of Skype to our VIERA CAST offerings truly takes HDTV connectivity to a whole new level," said Bob Perry, Senior Vice President, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "VIERA CAST was created to offer Panasonic VIERA® HDTV owners a new level of entertainment by giving them access to some of the most popular content-driven web sites. Panasonic VIERA HDTV owners can now not only share photos and videos online; with Skype they can also talk to family and friends from the comfort of their living room."
"Skype has made video calling easy, free and accessible. Today, 34% of all Skype-to-Skype calls include video. In addition, the number one reason why Skype users enjoy video calling is because it makes them feel more connected to friends and family," said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype. "This is very exciting for us. TVs are a logical and natural platform for video communications. TVs will no longer be just the center of people's entertainment experience, but have the potential to be the center of people's communications experience."
To conduct a Skype video call on a VIERA CAST HDTV, a specially-designed high-performance Panasonic camera, which is sold as a separate accessory, is simply plugged into the television. The camera includes a special microphone system that can easily pick up sound from couch-distance. Plus, it will deliver up to 720p high definition video quality depending on the consumer's internet bandwidth.
Panasonic's VIERA CAST feature has been widely acknowledged for its distinctive internet application, allowing the consumer to view targeted sites on a large HDTV, rather than a small computer screen. VIERA CAST requires no external box or PC. VIERA CAST is accessed via a single button on the television remote control and there is no fee to use the VIERA CAST functionality (some VIERA CAST services such as VOD have a separate fee structure).
Skype joins a growing list of web-based offerings on Panasonic's VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs including Amazon Video On Demand, YouTube™, Picasa Web Albums™, Bloomberg News and weather information.