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Panasonic Digital Lifestyles Show

On March 28 at BB King's Blues Club and Grille in New York City, Panasonic announced several new models in their plasma line. In addition to upgraded 42-inch and 50-inch products, Panasonic took the wraps off a pair of 58-inch plasma TVs, announced a ship date and retail price for their 65-inch 1080p plasma, and claimed their 103-inch model, shown at CES, would be at retail by the end of this year.

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Panasonic TX-58PX600U

The two new 58-inch models, the TH-58PX600U ($5,999) and TH-58PX60U ($5,499), represent new glass cuts from Panasonic's expanding PDP lines. They sport 1366x768 native resolution and expanded bit depth, with a spec of 29 billion color shades and 10,000:1 peak contrast. The TH-58PX600U comes with TV Guide electronic program guide, a CableCARD slot, and a 31-watt (yes, thirty one) stereo audio system.

Other upgrades to the line include the 50-inch TH-50PX600U ($3,999) and the 42-inch TH-42PX600U ($2,999). The latter panel has 1024x768 resolution and was the only 42-inch model on display, so it looks like EDTV plasma is passé in Secaucus. In addition to the TV Guide EPG and CableCARD slot, a PC (VGA) input is included, along with two HDMI interfaces and an SD memory card reader.

Panasonic's 65-inch TH-65PX600U has a heftier price tag ($9,995), and will debut this September. This TV sports a full 1920x1080-pixel matrix, CableCARD slot, and TV Guide OSD. No prices were given for the yet-unnamed 103-inch PDP, which is surely going to be a CEDIA channel product.

In addition to a few new DVD recorders and some smaller LCD TVs, Panasonic also announced the availability and pricing of their DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Disc player. It will hit the streets at the same time as the TH-65PX600U with a retail price below $1,500. Expect that price to change as more models are announced and everyone jockeys for retail space.

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