By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Amidst the hullabaloo surrounding Panasonic’s new 3D TV launch was an interesting side story: the Japanese supplier also announced its first range of LED LCD TVs and its largest ever LCD range.

Panasonic has long been considered the greatest proponent of plasma technology amongst the Tier 1 suppliers, and its commitment to plasma is represented by its innovative NeoPDP panels and the market’s response to these TVs. Consumer demand, however, has prompted Panasonic to invest more in LCD and LED LCD technology, with the result being 14 new LCD models, including 5 new LED LCD models.

Panasonic consumer electronics group director Paul Reid said this announcement represented a shift to a more balanced TV offering by the supplier.

“Panasonic always listens to its customers when releasing new products and it was apparent that consumers were looking for LCD and LED LCDs as well as Plasma technology,” Reid said. “With the expansion of our Viera LCD and the introduction of an LED LCD range it has become a more balanced offering for our customers.”

Despite this new balance, Reid said Panasonic is committed to its philosophy of providing TVs specifically for different size sections of the market. He said that plasma remains the best technology for TVs 42-inches and up, whilst LCD is best for the smaller sizes.

LED LCD TV sprang to prominence last year when Samsung released its cheekily named ‘New Species’ range of “LED TVs”. When asked if Panasonic’s move into LED LCD technology was in response to Samsung’s success, Reid said it was more about the wants of Panasonic customers than Samsung’s.

“We recognise that some consumers have been asking for a Panasonic LED LCD TV. With these consumers in mind, we have decided to introduce a range of LED LCD TV’s utilizing IPS panel technology to ensure exceptional picture quality.”

So does this mean Panasonic will soon be announcing 3D LCD or LED LCD models? Reid said it wouldn’t be happening anytime soon.

“Panasonic is always working on developing new technologies, however we have no plans as yet to release 3D in other formats,” was his response.

Panasonic has five Full HD LED LCDs set for release this year:

TH-L42D25A, 42 inches, June 2010, RRP $2,499.
TH-L37D25A, 37 inches, June 2010, RRP $1,999.
TH-L32D25A, 32 inches, June 2010, RRP $1,699.
TH-L42D20A, 42 inches, September 2010, RRP TBC.
TH-L32D20A, 32 inches, September 2010, RRP TBC.

Panasonic has five Full HD LCDs set for release this year, ranging from RRP $899 (32 inches) to RRP $1,399 (37 inches). There are also five HD LCDs set for release. These range from 22 inches (RRP TBC) to 32 inches (RRP TBC).