Panasonic Offers 4K (not OLED) As Plasma Replacement
According to Julie Bauer, president of the Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company, the new high end 4K HDTVs will fill the hole in image quality that many enthusiasts believe will be left by the disappearance of the firm’s plasmas.
“Let me repeat that—we will deliver plasma-level picture quality with LED technology. Our engineers have spent the last 12 months working on this,” said Bauer. The new AX800 series 4K models will be available in screen sizes ranging from 58-65 inches, with an 85-inch model to come later. Additional technical details were not offered, but should be available at the Panasonic booth once the show officially opens.
Along with image quality advances, Panasonic will introduce a new smart TV platform with this year’s models dubbed the “Life+Screen,” pronounced “life plus.” The new interface integrates voice-guided navigation; occupancy sensing that recognizes when a viewer is positioned in front of the TV to activate an info bar that might supply time or weather; easy sharing of video, photos, and other content from phones and tablets, and video messaging capabilties.
OLED, the impressive display technology that made its debut last year with models from Samsung and LG, was notably absent from Pansonic’s consumer presentation. Panasonic and Sony recently parted ways on their joint venture to develop OLED technology, leading to speculation about whether OLED would continue to build a presence across multiple manufacturers this year. Nonetheless, Panasonic’s CES booth features a 21-foot long curving multi-monitor video display that features a string of convex and concave OLED panels. “This will be a business solution—unless you are the manager of a hedge fund,” quipped Panasonic CEO Joe Taylor.
Other 4K or 4K-related solutions will be introduced for the business market as well, including new professional camcorders, pixel-quadrupling projectors for large venues, and a revised version of the 20-inch 4K tablet the company bowed in 2013 for the medical, architecural, and professional video markets. A new wearable 4K camera will be bowed for consumer action-sports enthusiasts.
Other Panasonic news came from the auto electronics division, which announced that Panasonic’s Aupeo streaming service is working with DTS to introduce a true surround-sound streaming service later this year.
From the appliance division came the critically vital announcement of a new handheld hair dryer that actually moisturizes your hair while it drys it, a feat that seems to defy nature itself. Panasonic will be demonstrating it on the show floor for walk-by attendees who need a little extra pampering. “I think this is the first time anyone has offered salon services on the floor at CES. So, for all you guys out there wanting a blow-out, stop by the booth,” Bauer said.