By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Amongst all the hoopla surrounding Panasonic’s latest release of plasma panels, the Japanese manufacturer also launched 10 new LCD models. Unlike major rivals Sony and Samsung, Panasonic has segmented LCD, marketing the technology only in the comparatively smaller sizes.

In another point of difference from competitors, there was no mention from Panasonic yesterday about either LED or OLED models. After all the attention lavished on Sony and Samsung recently, these technologies were conspicuous only by their absence.

"Panasonic has no…announcements to make at this stage regarding the release of OLED or LED models," was all could extract on the subject from Panasonic’s media representitives.

Ranging in size from the compact 19-inch to the newly introduced 42-inch, Panasonic’s LCD range is focused on environmentally friendly panels and optimum image quality. Panasonic are on the record saying that it believes LCD is a great format for smaller sizes and well-lit rooms, whilst the larger screens and best handled by plasma.

The flagship model of this release is a 37-inch premium full HD screen that’s only 2 inches thick. This model, with an RRP still to be announced, is due for release this September.

At the other end of the scale, Panasonic has entered the concept LCD market, with a new 19-inch 720p model available in black, white and pink. Grundig has so far reported good results with its colourful range, so the competition between these models should be interesting when these models go on sale in September.

Already available from this LCD range are Panasonic’s 32-inch 720p model (RRP $1,319) and its 32-inch full HD panel (RRP $1,539). Coming next month is a 37-inch full HD model at RRP $1,999. In June, two more additions will be released to retail: a 32-inch full HD (RRP $1,999) and a 37-inch full HD (RRP $2,199).

The final additions to the range will be in September, when a 26-inch 720p model and a 42-inch full HD model are released. Both these models have as-yet unknown RRPs.

Key features of these models include In-Plane Switching in the LCD panel, 20,000:1 contrast ratios, Motion Picture Pro 3 technology and an active colour enhancer. Using Viera Link, users can integrate their LCDs to other Panasonic products to record and pause live TV, view images and access a 7-day electronic programming guide.