Panasonic launches Smart Viera TVs

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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

Panasonic has launched its 2011 range of entertainment gear with a new phrase, "Smart Viera", and a focus on interacting with your TV through services such as Skype.

panasonic smart viera tv

Over half of Panasonic's 2011 televisions will include "Smart TV" functionality.
(Credit: Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia)

One half of Panasonic's range incorporates 26 new televisions, with the other half incorporating "smart functionality". The budget models will offer connectivity in the form of Easy IPTV.

Panasonic said the Smart Vieras are the "hub of the modern home" and include many of the "smart" features offered by its rivals including IPTV, Facebook, apps, games and Skype calls.

At the launch, Panasonic also announced the availability of ABC's iView, which joins Plus 7 for catch-up services.

Panasonic also unveiled several new Skype functions on its Blu-ray recorders, which now includes being able to leave video answering machine messages. The Skype camera sells separately for AU$199.

Meanwhile, the company has also beefed up TV USB recording with the addition of an EPG, and DLNA sharing functionality now includes the addition of DivX HD and MKV to DLNA. TVs will be able to act as a server to stream to other DLNA devices on your network.

New to the 2011 range is 2D-to-3D conversion, which will be available on all 3D models including the company's first 3D LCD, the DT20.

The company is offering three ranges of 3D TVs: the flagship VT30, the ST30 and GT30. While the flagship TV was available from the launch date last year, it will be another two months until we see a VT30 in shops, with a 50-, 55- and 65-inch due in July and August. Prices have yet to be announced.

Apps to be announced in the future will include a fitness game, which is used in conjunction with a wearable accessory called the Body Media Fit.

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