The cardboard Manila folder contains 47 pages of media releases covering TVs, home theatres, Blu-ray recorders, mini and micro systems, networked audio in the style of Sonos and one enormous ‘Max’ boom box. For comparison, Sony’s launch release fit onto 3 pages. Even LG’s was a modest 14.

The Japanese company that has suffered significantly during the early 2010s, when sales in plasma panels collapsed and the rise of the Korean brands stole share away in major overseas markets, is back in its groove, registering profits and with a significant, attractive product program to promote in 2014.

In its consumer products department, Panasonic has four broad pillars: home entertainment, Lumix cameras, home appliances and air conditioning. Plasma TVs was such a huge part of the business that when price erosion and a consumer shift to LED LCD technology took hold, it left a gaping hole in the bottom line. The rise of Panasonic’s outstanding Lumix Micro Four-Thirds range was timely and these mirrorless cameras did a lot of the heavy lifting while the home appliance range was expanded and rolled out. While this was happening, Panasonic Australia outsourced its sales team to an agency, Crossmark.

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The end of 2013 and the start of 2014 brought two monumental shifts for Panasonic, one global and one local. In the former category, the Osaka-based head office announced it would stop producing plasma panels to focus on LED LCD technology and the inchoate OLED category. Then, in February 2014, long-serving Panasonic Australia MD Steve Rust announced he would be hanging up his 3D glasses and passing the remote control to Paul Reid.

Reid had previously headed up Panasonic Australia’s sales team and he returned from three years running Panasonic Nordic to lead the subsidiary. This was Reid’s first major product launch since taking over and, rather than replicate the glitz and glamour of Samsung, which hosted a z-grade celebrity laden boozer at the Hordern Pavilion, or LG with its rather formal presentation at the Australian Maritime Museum, Panasonic fitted out a Vaucluse mega-mansion with new products.

Richard Tassone, director of Panasonic Australia’s Consumer Group, said the company wanted to showcase how its new home entertainment range could be presented in a lifestyle setting. In the past, Panasonic has hosted TV launches in convention centres, on Cockatoo Island, in an Adelaide hotel and at a cinema in Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter. This really was the first time we’ve seen Panasonic place so much emphasis on design and appearance — normally its the groundbreaking advances in technology that is promoted — aesthetics and functionality were much more prominent.

Tassone hinted at this change of tack, this greater awareness of how the consumers shops of consumer electronics, when providing some uplifting news about the company.

“Both globally and locally, over the last two or three years, we’ve had a lot of changes in our business, and a lot of adapting, especially in the consumer side,” He said. “A lot of this hard work has definitely paid off for us.”

Tassone said that when speaking to people in the trade, the most common question he gets is, ‘How has Panasonic been performing?’. He said that as a global company, at the end of its fiscal year in March 2014, Panasonic was back in the black, “with a $1.26 billion profit for the entire business, including B2B, consumer and other areas, which is a great result for us”.

Panasonic’s Australian subsidiary “is also extremely strong”, Tassone reported, in part because it is taking a more curated approach when taking new models to market.

“Our launch timing has changed a bit over the last couple of year. We don’t just launch a product at a particular time. We will look at bringing in a product when we feel the product is right and the consumer demands it.

“A good example of this is our WT600 4K product that we released late last year. We weren’t the first to market with 4K, however, when we introduced our 4K product it definitely had some features and benefits above our competition.”

Ultra High Definition, Smart TV functionality and, in a nod to nostalgia, twin HD tuners, are the cornerstone technologies of Panasonic’s range. The entire range is LED LCD, with no OLED expected in 2014. Unlike the Korean suppliers, there are no Curved panels in the range.

Panasonic’s 2014 Viera Smart TVs, called the Life+ Screen range, goes further than any of its flat panel rivals in becoming a thinking and interactive part of the loungeroom. While customers are more accustomed now to using their TV to access on-demand and catch-up TV content over the internet, Panasonic’s new Life+ Screen range has face and voice recognition and predictive services that recall the scary HAL 9000 artificial intelligence from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Utilising a feature called ‘my Stream’, Panasonic’s new TVs can detect faces and recognises voices to learn who is watching the TV. It then loads that person’s profile and starts recommending content, based on that user’s viewing history.

For example, if Dad sits down in front of the TV, my Stream will recognise his visage and start pushing the rugby league,  Game of Thrones and their social media streams. When Dad is kicked off the TV by young Tiffany, suddenly  the latest One Direction music video is suggested on YouTube.

Some apps come pre-installed while others require pre-downloading and there is a period of learning before the instant magic happens, but once my Stream is up and running, it is intended to be a seamless system of viewer recognition and content suggestion.

On top of this, because of the twin HD tuners, selected high-end Panasonic TVs have very impressive picture-in-picture functionality, which also works with Foxtel. Using an app on a smartphone or tablet, users can mirror their TV anywhere in the world.

“The days of using a TV mainly for watching free-to-air broadcasts and the occasional DVD are long behind us,” explained Panasonic Australia product marketing manager for Viera TV, Maetham Roomi.

“The new Life+ Screen range is designed for the modern, hyper-connected household. Life+ Screens adapt to each viewer’s lifestyle and make it easy to access all of their content, all of the time.”

Panasonic Viera TV Range

(all now available except where noted)

Ultra HD

TH-65AX800A – 65 inches – RRP $5,999
TH-58AX800A – 58 inches – RRP $4,399

Full HD

TH-60AS800A – 60 inches – RRP $3,299 (end of June)
TH-55AS800A – 55 inches – RRP $2,799 (end of June)
TH-60AS740A – 60 inches – RRP $2,899
TH-55AS800A – 55 inches – RRP $2,299
TH-60AS700A – 60 inches – RRP $2,799
TH-55AS700A – 55 inches – RRP $2,199
TH-50AS700A – 50 inches – RRP $1,849
TH-42AS700A – 42 inches – RRP $1,399
TH-55AS670A – 55 inches – RRP $2,199 (end of July)
TH-60AS640A – 60 inches – RRP $2,299 (end of July)
TH-50AS640A – 50 inches – RRP $1,449 (end of June)
TH-42AS640A – 42 inches – RRP $1,099 (end of June)
TH-32AS610A – 32 inches – RRP $659
TH-60A430A – 60 inches – RRP $2,199
TH-50A430A – 50 inches – RRP $1,349
TH-50A430A – 50 inches – RRP $899
TH-32A400A – 32 inches – RRP $549
TH-24A400A – 24 inches – RRP $389