Panasonic outlines the future of TV at CES

Diverse range of HDTV technology showcased by Panasonic at the Consumer Electronics Show

Panasonic is aiming to bring us technology that unites us, rather than technology to be enjoyed in isolation, with HDTV as the 'digital hearth' of the home... read on for more:

From the press release:

Panasonic, the leading brand by which Matsu****a Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is known, kicked off the 2008 International CES as Panasonic AVC Networks Company President Toshihiro Sakamoto delivered the opening keynote address. Panasonic AVC Networks Company is the consumer electronics and PC manufacturing arm of Matsu****a Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (MEI).

Mr. Sakamoto concurrently serves as Senior Managing Director and Member of the Board of MEI. He leads the creation and development of the company’s digital video and audio business strategies, including flat panel displays and a variety of other High Definition network-capable products. In his keynote speech, Sakamoto shared Panasonic’s vision for the coming years and unveiled a range of diverse, new, easy-to-use, connectible High Definition technologies that will enable people to live high-quality, yet ecologically responsible lives.

Panasonic’s “Digital Hearth”
Sakamoto presented Panasonic’s flat panel HDTVs as a “Digital Hearth” – the 21st century’s center of the home where family and friends gather together. The concept of placing large-screen flat panel displays at the center of the living room puts an emphasis on family time spent experiencing entertainment together via a variety of audio and visual products, including digital still cameras with advanced image stabilizers and high resolution telescope-like zoom, SD Memory Card-hosted 1080p Full HD camcorders with no moving parts, and high-definition Blu-ray Disc players. All of these products are easily connected through SD Memory Card, optical discs or wired HDMI cable, without any quality deterioration. These products and technologies were first detailed by Fumio Ohtsubo, then President of Panasonic AVC Networks Company, now President of MEI, in his opening keynote speech four years ago at the 2004 International CES. Today, they are all globally available for affordable prices.

Easily controlling these network-capable products is also the important asset of the “Digital Hearth.” Panasonic’s “VIERA Link” is an entire audio-visual operation system centered on VIERA and controlled by a single remote control. .While TV is quickly becoming the key to accessing all types of home electronics, VIERA Link is a big leap ahead towards this goal.

While people typically view technology as something that isolates people from one another, Sakamoto emphasized that Panasonic tries to help to bring back family time with its sophisticated high definition connectible products -- people can spend time together, creating and sharing photos and videos, and experiencing the excitement of sports and movies in a whole new way. Panasonic has dubbed this high definition, interconnected way of life “Living in High Definition.”

Also, sharing the passion, excitement, and dreams is another form of the “Digital Hearth.” Panasonic is very proud to be an Official Worldwide Olympic Partner for the upcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. With Beijing being the first High Definition Olympic Games in history, Panasonic is dedicated to raising the bar on how the Games are broadcast. The company’s DVCPRO HD will be the official video recording format for the Games and its SD Memory Card based P2 HD technology will also be used.(I¡¡(BFrom Venue to Broadcast to Homes around the world, Panasonic technology will bring more than 5 billion people together, providing the speed and excitement of sports in stunning High Definition.

TV as a center of the living room
Panasonic’s flat panel HDTV’s are its main pillar of the audio and visual business entities. The company has been committed to the growth of the Plasma display panel (PDP) market with its belief on the advantages that the self-illuminating Plasma displays have. Its outstanding motion-picture resolution is ideal for even fast-action sports. The exceptionally deep picture delivers greater expressive power. The wide viewing angle provides stunning images from almost anywhere in the room.

But its progression continues while Panasonic is looking far into the future of Plasma TVs and its technology. To show the next big step of Panasonic’s Plasma technology, Sakamoto unveiled several new Plasma breakthroughs which will be available soon after Panasonic completes construction of its fifth PDP manufacturing facility.

1) Plasma display with double efficiency technology
Panasonic unveiled its development of a Plasma panel that has twice the brightness of previous panels.

2) Super-thin 24.7mm* Plasma display
Less than one inch in profile, Panasonic’s newly developed super-thin Plasma display offers much greater setup flexibility in the living room.
* The thickness from the glass surface is only 23.7mm thin.

3) 150-inch advanced High-Definition Plasma display
Panasonic’s 103-inch television has held he title as the world’s largest plasma TV to date. At his keynote address, Sakamoto revealed Panasonic’s new world’s largest – a 150-inch Plasma HDTV. This huge screen offers breathtaking, dynamic and crystal-clear image quality that is equivalent to nine 50-inch displays, with its high 2160 X 4096-pixel resolution – 4 times the resolution of the 1080p Full HD specification.

Sakamoto also unveiled a wireless 1080p Full HD transmission system that was developed by Panasonic together with SiBEAM, Inc. of the United States. It can transmit uncompressed 1080p Full HD content wirelessly with no deterioration in quality. Thanks to “beam steering technology,” the picture on the screen is not even interrupted when people walk through the wireless connection path. And just as in current models, the VIERA Link feature is available even in wireless connection and lets users control all interconnected equipment using only the TV’s remote control. Signals from a Blu-ray Disc player or other rack-mounted component can also be transmitted wirelessly. Together with the newly developed one inch plasma display, this new system will provide a further enhanced freedom in room design and device setup -- taking consumers to a new level of “Living in High Definition.”.

TVs beyond home entertainment: “Whole Life Connectivity”
Panasonic continues to push the boundaries of television far beyond delivering conventional video and audio content. Sakamoto stressed Panasonic’s human-centric vision to take TV beyond the entertainment; to become the center of home information systems, including security, safety and communications through such technologies as Panasonic’s home IP camera monitoring system, video intercom system, and home management that can be operated from inside a user’s car via their car navigation system. All the monitoring information is shown on VIERA HDTVs, and can be operated with a single remote, thanks to VIERA Link technology.

TV heading into the future
During the final live demonstration of his keynote address, Sakamoto revealed the concept of Life Wall -- Panasonic’s vision of the future of High Definition television. Life Wall adds yet another layer to the concept of the “Digital Hearth.” This entire-wall-sized television incorporates highly sophisticated, intuitive, intelligent and interactive interfaces such as face-recognition technology that detects who is standing in front of the Life Wall, thus enabling display of customized icons for family members when he or she is recognized in front of the Life Wall. Motion sensing technology enables hand gesture controlling without a remote control. Panasonic envisions that this Life Wall will be an information hub connecting both the inside and outside of the home, integrating a variety of life-size, stunning, high-quality entertainment content and life-connected home applications; including safety, security, health and communications. The Life Wall will be a place that delivers new ways to communicate, learn and interact by uniting people together.