By Matthew Henry
SYDNEY: Panasonic today unveiled its Viera flat panel TV lineup for the first half of 2007 including four new plasmas and three new LCDs, with all models in the range updated to feature high definition digital integrated tuners.
The company has also revealed that it will bring out a full HD large-screen plasma range in the second half of the year. Panasonic has focussed on three things with the new Viera range – improved picture quality through black box technologies, HD panels and integrated HD tuners across the board; an updated Viera Link system with a higher level of functionality than the debut version released last year; and connectivity options such as SD cards on premium models and HDMI and PC connectivity throughout the range.
“Viera Link has been enhanced in this generation so you can use your Viera remote control to operate a DVD recorder, high definition camcorder and other Panasonic equipment connected to your Viera TV,” said Reid.
The brand will continue with its strategy of using plasma panels for large-screen TVs over 37 inches and LCD for smaller TVs. According to Panasonic director – consumer electronics group, plasma still has the technological edge, which is more clearly evident in larger displays.
“Today, the sports and high definition movies that are driving the demand or high definition viewing, more than ever require blacker blacks, faster response time (no motion artefacts) and the billions of colours that Panasonic plasma screens deliver,” said Reid.
The Viera LCD range includes the 26-inch TX-26LXD70A and two 32-inch models – the entry-level silver and black TX-32LXD70A with integrated HD tuner and the premium TX-32LXD700A featuring a black cabinet, SDHC card slot and the 100Hz Motion Picture Pro image engine.
Pricing will be released when the range becomes available in July. The new Viera plasma range – Panasonic’s 10th generation PDPs – includes two 42-inch models and two 50-inch models, all but one sporting new-look black cabinets.
The 42-inch TH-42P70A and 50-inch TH-50PX70A are both available now for RRP $2749 and RRP $3849 respectively. A high-end 50-inch Viera plasma will be released in July featuring a silver cabinet, front HDMI input and SDHC card slot. Pricing has not been confirmed. Panasonic will also release a 42-inch event model for a limited time during the third quarter.
While 2006 saw flat panel TV sales come to represent around half of the volume in the TV market, the early part of 2007 has witnessed an even stronger swing towards flat panel with around 69 per cent of volume now accounted for by plasma and LCD.
According to March GfK data provided by Panasonic, plasma accounts for 59 per cent of unit sales in the 37 inches and over market segment and roughly 50 per cent of value. In the over-50-inch segment, plasma accounts for 71 per cent of units and 66 per cent value.
Panasonic anticipates 25 per cent growth in PDP unit sales in Australia this year and will promote the technology heavily through a marketing campaign in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games featuring star Australian Olympian, Matt Shirvington.