Panasonic to Offer New Cloud Internet Service, VIERA Connect This Spring
Osaka, Japan - Panasonic Corporation announced today it will begin to offer VIERA Connect, a new and enhanced cloud-based Internet service as a world’s first1 this spring. Furthermore, the service will be promoted as an open platform to facilitate increased applications in order to expand its IPTV services. To coincide with the launch of VIERA Connect, 15 new flat-panel VIERA TV models (42 to 65 inches2) compatible with this service will be initially released in the US market. VIERA Connect and its compatible models are currently on display at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show3 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The new VIERA Connect allows users to enjoy sports, health & fitness activities, interactive games, and a variety of other contents in addition to the standard movies and television programs on a high-quality large-screen TV through the simple operation of a remote control. It is also the world’s first1 cloud-based Internet service that supports interactive services using associable equipment as well as an Internet-based shopping function that supports purchases of such equipment straight from the television.
The latest VIERA Connect service is a major step up from VIERA CAST, the cloud-based Internet service Panasonic has provided in overseas markets, starting in the United States since 2008. In addition to increasing the number of provided applications drastically, the capacity to expand hardware functions through linking health & fitness equipment or game controllers and an online shopping service through the television that allows users to easily purchase these related equipment, is a world first for the television. The new online shopping service will become increasingly customizable with applications and external equipment that will be available on demand, readily provided by the VIERA Connect Market. (See below for more details)
The VIERA Connect system operates on a high-quality, 32-bit 3D graphical user interface4 (GUI) allowing quick and convenient operation. In addition, after the service starts, applications, the GUI usability, and screen design will be upgraded regularly in order to fully maximize the features of cloud-based services.
With the growth of broadband technology, the Internet television (IPTV) market is expanding worldwide. The portion of IPTV demand for flat-panel televisions is expected to reach over 40% by 2014 in the global market (survey of research companies). Within this expanding market, Panasonic’s IPTVs have a strong reputation in the global market as they present wide-ranging contents and services that meet regional needs in addition to providing a stress-free superior responsiveness and usability unique to televisions. This year, Smart VIERA, Panasonic’s new IPTV compatible with the upgraded VIERA Connect service, will be released into the American market this spring, and Panasonic expects to drive its IPTV sales up to 70%5 of its total television sales in the global market in fiscal year 2012.
With the new VIERA Connect service, Panasonic is able to offer the precious value of increased personal time or time with family and friends. This is achieved by supporting connections between people through a smart and simple linkup with multiple applications online in the comfort of your own living room on a large-screen, high-quality flat-panel TV running on the latest cloud-based Internet services technology.
To maximize the merit for consumers, VIERA Connect will be introduced as an open platform to promote the expansion of IPTV services and applications. In detail, to create a broader IPTV application ecosystem, Panasonic will first promote cooperation with IPTV third-party application developers6. In addition, Panasonic is also collaborating with partners including Access Co., Ltd7, to make the VIERA Connect middleware technology available to other device manufacturers and semiconductor companies8.
Panasonic will continue to create new and more exciting television experiences by accelerating the development of related technologies and creating stronger connections to affiliated developers.
Main VIERA Connect Services (as of the 2011 CES Exhibition)
(1) Live Sports
Live broadcasts will be available for the four major sports of the US, a first for Internet TV services. Watched on a large-sized screen, this service will offer an experience as good as being in the actual stadium.
(2) Health & Fitness (World First1)
Through the use of connected treadmills or armband pedometers, one can enjoy watching TV while exercising in addition to easily accessing the exercise data such as calories burned or number of paces right on the TV screen. Furthermore, used in a combination with weight scales and body-fat meters, one can easily record, check and predict their daily health progress on the TV screen, making for easy and fun health management.
(3) Gaming (World First1)
Using the special game controller, one can enjoy real-to-life games such as racing or other similar genres with the thrills of a big screen even without a game console, an experience never before available through Internet TV services.
(4) VIERA Connect Market (Purchasing Related Equipment from TV-World First1)
Purchasing applications, health & fitness products, game controllers, and other related equipment for above services (2) and (3) with a single remote control via the TV screen.
1) World first for interactive service linked to relevant equipment and Internet services allowing online shopping through the television of relevant equipment. Results as of January 6, 2011 in Panasonic survey
2) 42/46/50/55/60/65 inch total of 12 models of plasma TVs and 32/37/42 inch 3 models of LCD TVs
3) Held from January 6 to 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
4) Graphic User Interface (GUI): The control panel for VIERA Connect
5) Breakdown of units sold
6) Facilitate collaboration with application developers such as Accedo Broadband AB, Wiztivi and Tata Elxsi Limited. In addition, plan to open portal site to provide the VIERA Connect Software Development Kit (SDK) and Application Program Interface (API) to promote expansion of services and applications
7) Access Co. Ltd. Homepage: http://www.access-company.com/
8) Including manufacturers of TV, and set-top-box as well as original equipment manufacturers (ODM) and semi-conductor companies
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 7.42 trillion yen (US$79.4 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2010. The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company’s website at http://panasonic.net/.
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