It looks like Panasonic's efforts to open up Viera Connect to more developers is starting to pan out, with new applications coming from bigwigs like Disney and Skype. The new apps were heavily touted in the outfit's CES keynote as a way to expand viewers' access to web based content -- from rating their favorite movies on Flixster, to putting their kids to bed with Disney digital books. If putting books in your TV and tweeting about your favorite Mickey Mouse moments isn't social enough for you, Panasonic's also bringing MySpace to the small screen, just in case you wanted some of that "classic" social networking flavor on your couch.
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PANASONIC EXPANDS AND ENHANCES VIERA CONNECT'S VIDEO SOCIAL EXPERIENCE

New Social TV Split Screen Allows Users To Make Skype Video Calls with Friends and Family While Continuing to View Their Favorite Show On Their VIERA HDTV

LAS VEGAS (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic, a leader in Full HD 3D technology and built-in TV web entertainment, today announced the launch of a new Social TV feature, Split Screen, that allows the user to simultaneously launch Skype1 while enjoying their favorite shows on their VIERA HDTV. Skype brings Social TV functionality to a whole new level after the recent introduction of original Social TV app that allows one to access social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook while also enjoying programming simultaneously on their VIERA HDTV.

"Skype has proven to be very popular for Panasonic's VIERA Connect2 and our research showed that users wanted a feature that would permit them to watch their HDTV, while at the same time video chatting with friends and family," said Panasonic Corporation of North America Vice President, Merwan Mereby. "VIERA Connect is a cloud based and a robust IPTV platform that lets consumers connect like never before. We firmly believe that Connected TV will continue to become an increasingly important feature for consumers and Panasonic is focused on providing the consumer with the best possible Internet experience and to that end we are working diligently to build upon the already strong entertainment and connectivity experiences our VIERA Connect customers can enjoy."

The expansion of Skype to allow viewers to simultaneously watch TV while video calling is the latest example of Panasonic's continuing effort to re-define the TV experience. The latest apps join entertainment and information favorites such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video™, huluPLUS, CinemaNow, Ustream, Skype™ voice and video calling, Twitter, Facebook, Pandora®, You Tube™, Google's Picasa™ Web Album, and WSJ (Wall Street Journal) Live; as well as sports sites including, MLS and Fox Sports3; gaming sites, such as Asphalt5 and Free Throw; health and wellness sites, such as Body Media® and Withings Body Mass Scale; and weather service from Accuweather. The great majority of VIERA Connect apps are free to the consumer.

Panasonic introduced its IPTV platform four years ago and in that time the internet functionality has grown to include movies, music, social media, gaming, weather, major sports sites and health and wellness sites. Panasonic's IPTV functionality was designed to provide consumers with access to these exceptional sites without the need for an additional set-top box or computer. All the functionality is built into the products.

"When combined with Panasonic's award winning Full HD 3D VIERA HDTVs, the enhanced VIERA Connect Internet platform provides the consumer with exceptional entertainment value and variety," added Mereby.

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Panasonic expands app offerings for Viera Connect, brings Skype, Disney, MySpace and more