Live coverage of the Panasonic press event

Paul Boutin
P. Boutin|01.04.06

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Paul Boutin
January 4th, 2006
In this article: CES, features
Live coverage of the Panasonic press event
We know something is afoot between Panasonic and Comcast.  We've shoved our way to the front of the crowd in the Las Vegas Convention Center's hangar-sized Central Hall to find out what.

3:00 pm - There are 300 chairs for what looks like 600 people at Panasonic's booth.  The place is decked out with Comcast logos and execs.

3:03 Panasonic North America honcho Yoshi Yamada takes the stage and shows us a video of a Space Shuttle launch on a -- let me fact-check this -- yes, a 103-inch plasma screen.

3:05 Yamada: "Like you I'm not an engineer.  I want it to be easy to watch a first run movie without having to use three or four different remotes.  For this reason, Panasonic went to Comcast."

3:09 Comcast Chairman/CEO Brian Roberts takes the stage.  "Everybody here is invited to my home in Philadelphia to watch _Rocky_ on my 103-inch Panasonic."

3:12 They're announcing an initiative to create a single-remote standardized system.  Panasonic will provide Comcast with 250,000 set-top boxes.  You'll take the set out of the box, plug it in, and the Comcast guide will come up.

3:15 Yamada is back, explaining all the things you'll be able to see: Video, photos, cameras placed around the house (who's at the door?), Blu-ray, etc etc.  The OCAP middleware standard is what they're using to tie things together.

3:19 Photo op of the first set-top box.  It's plain, but it's shiny..

3:22 They've brought Olympic skier Picabo Street up, wearing her gold medal.  She says she didn't have TV growing up, "so I didn't have all this in-your-face marketing to tell you what to buy."  Ixnay, Picabo, ixnay!3:25 Panasonic marketing VP John Iacoviello is listing some of the pluses and minuses of flat panels.  You often hear that they're taking over in sales, but he notes that this is true for 37 inch screens and above.  LCD screens, meanwhile, have poor viewing angle range and sometimes can't keep up with the action.  Panasonic has plans to fix that, natch.

3:33 Now he's walking through new camera gear.  VDR-330 DVD camcorder is the one to watch.  For pros there's the new black beauty AG-HVX200 videocam.

3:35 Ha ha!  John was just interruped by a booming voice-of-God that filled the entire hall: "There is no smoking during move-in and move-out."

3:36 HD-PLC Adapter (High Definition Power Line Communication) lets you transfer video through the power lines in your house.   BL-C1 camera is designed for use with it as a security cam around the home.

3:38 He says they've got a bone-conduction phone (no model number, no pic) that lets you hear calls in loud environments.  We could use one of those right here, right now.

3:40 Now is the time on Sprockets when we all get up and dance!  They've brought live dancers onstage and interspersed musicians on giant video screens among them.

After the event, we get one last look at the 103-inch 1080p PDP with someone next to it for scale. We want one; the PDP, that is, not the person.
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