Panasonic was going to unleash a slew of new apps for its Viera Connect televisions, and now it looks like they're finally ready to hit the ground running -- for its 2011 models, anyway. Back in January the company released its Viera SDK to developers, and now it has a smattering of games and sports apps to show for it, including the long-promised NBA Game Time, which includes standings and highlights from recent games. In case you're curious, there's no sign yet of Asphalt 5 HD, also announced at CES, though Panasonic says the title should be launching in the near future. Also on tap are MLS and NHL applications, each of which let you watch live games -- provided you subscribe to these leagues' live game packages. Panasonic says the NHL app is slated for the middle of this month, and you can expect MLS in early May. What we're most excited about, though, is an app that syncs with select NordicTrack treadmills (due out "later this year"), pairing your run with a first-person view in Google Earth. We can't wait to embark on a simulated run through the streets of Paris (versus, you know, actually going there), but alas, Panasonic wasn't ready to demo the app quite yet.
As always, Viera's apps are arranged in a grid of large squares, right down to the standings and recorded matches in MLS, all of which makes these sets easy to navigate using a remote control. (We'll be curious to see what it's like playing Asphalt 5 with the remote, which you'll have to do if you don't want to spring for an optional wireless gaming controller.) The interface adds the occasional visual flourish, too, including a carousel of NHL standings and fly-in news categories in the AP's news app. The software is generally responsive, although you might find yourself waiting a few extra seconds for news blurbs and other information-heavy tidbits to load. Want a sneak peak at these apps before they roll out this spring? Hit the link and check out the gallery and hands-on video.