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Will writing a sentence on the chalkboard 200 times ever be the same, once we switch over to interactive pen functionality? And how will such technologies affect the opening of The Simpsons? These are important questions we must ask as classrooms ready themselves to move over to boards like Panasonic's 65-inch TH-65PB1. The interactive plasma display can be oriented horizontally and vertically and utilizes a new electronic pen system that the company promises will deliver "high-speed drawing and smooth and highly accurate writing." The whiteboard killer will be hitting the US, Europe and Japan late next month. Panasonic has also promised to deliver 85- and 103-inch versions before year's end. More information on the death of chalk dust can be found in the press release after the break.

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Panasonic to Release 65-inch Interactive Plasma Display

Panasonic Corporation announced today it will start shipment of its 65-inch "Interactive Plasma Display" (TH-65PB1), incorporated with electronic pen functions, in Japan, the U.S., and Europe at the end of June, followed by other parts of the globe for the use of professionals. Panasonic also plans to commercialize an 85-inch model, the size of a standard whiteboard, and the world's largest*1 103-inch model by the end of this year. The TH-65PB1 and an 85-inch prototype will be exhibited at the Educational IT Solutions EXPO*2 to be held from May 16 in Tokyo.

The Interactive Plasma Display offers excellent visibility and operability, capitalizing on the full extent of the advantages of self-emitting plasma panel displays, including a large screen, rich color expression, wide viewing angle, and high-speed response. The TH-65PB1 is suitable not only for interactive display applications but also for use as a meeting room monitor.

Further drawing on the PDP's self-emitting characteristics, Panasonic has developed a new electronic pen system that allows high-speed drawing and smooth and highly accurate writing. Up to four pens*3 can be used simultaneously.

The TH-65B1 can be installed vertically or horizontally. When installed vertically, it can display a whole page of digital textbooks on the screen at once. Other possible applications include dividing the screen into two areas, with the upper section showing images and the lower section used as an electronic whiteboard. The new interactive plasma display, supporting wireless connections*4, can also be used as a presentation monitor for meetings or lectures to display electronic data stored in information terminals such as personal computers without the need for cables.

Panasonic will promote this product as an interactive display that helps deliver effective and innovative presentations in a wide variety of scenes, such as business negotiations or meetings as well as classrooms.

Projector-based electronic whiteboards have been mainstream in the interactive whiteboard market. However, the demand for direct-view displays that have excellent display performance and installation flexibility has been rising rapidly worldwide, mainly in the corporate and educational markets. The global demand for such products is expected to be approximately 1.5 million units in the fiscal year to March 2013 and about 3.5 million units in the year to March 2016*5. Panasonic will meet the diverse range of demand in the global market by developing new products that utilize the characteristics of large-screen PDP devices.

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Panasonic's interactive plasma display means never having to clean another eraser