Panasonic launch ‘fantastic’ prototypes

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Panasonic have used the Sydney launch of their new HD and Blu-ray products to show off two new prototypes. With the sheer volume of PR spin and media management, it is sometimes too easy to get carried away, but these two new TV models excited even the most journeyed technology reporter.

The first was an ultra-thin 50-inch PDP prototype that delivers an incredibly sharp image. The panel is just 24.7mm thick, about the same as a standard USB drive, and weighs only 22kg. This represents a 50% reduction in the weight from their previous range. The advantage of this is in flexibility. The slimline design and modest weight enable great versatility in viewing conditions. It can be wallmounted, suspended from wires or even supported by a single metallic stand with a swivel function.

The most important aspect to a television, however, is not shape, size or versatility – it’s the image displayed. The Panasonic PDP prototype delivers an image sharper – noticeably sharper – than any TV currently on the market. The definition of foreground from background was stunning and the colour contrasts were dynamic. There is no doubt that this model has taken significant research and development to produce, and it will be a high-end product, but once on the retail market it will be popular with people who crave the best in television playback.

The second prototype on display was Panasonic’s answer to the hybrid car – a 42-inch, 1080p HD plasma that halves energy consumption while maintaining brightness. For those that describe themselves as ‘climate change sceptics’, the brightness can be doubled whilst maintaining the current levels of energy consumption.

Panasonic’s category marketing manager (home entertainment and TVs), Adam Roberts, was keen to highlight how the green movement has influenced the manufacturer. “Panasonic are very aware of the environment and support initiatives to look after the environment,” Roberts said.

In addition to the reduction in energy consumption of the new models, Roberts also noted that when the TVs are switched off permanently they’re still environmentally friendly. “None of our models have lead or mercury – which helps in the eventual disposal of them,” continued Roberts.

Mass production is set to commence at the soon-to-be-finished Panasonic labs in Amagasaki, Japan – this could be as early as 2009.

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