Panasonic Details 2014 4K, LED TV Lines
Panasonic is rolling out now and through the summer months a 2014 TV lineup that includes 4K but focuses on LED, saying the technologies embedded in the sets move beyond conventional smart TV concepts and indeed, beyond Panasonic’s own 2013 Smart Viera platform to offer intuitive control and automation of smart functions with voice and visual prompts triggered by what the set “learns” of user preferences.
The line includes two 4K TV models (65- and 58-inch screen sizes in the AX800 series); the balance of series are LED TVs. Among the LED series is the AS680 (55 inches), which offers a native 240Hz refresh rate, and the AS640 (60 inches), which comes packaged with a Bluetooth sound bar.
Both of those models and the 65-inch 4K model are Best Buy exclusives. “Panasonic still has a multi-channel strategy, but we’re Best Buy-centric,” said Henry Hauser, vice president of merchandising, during a line presentation this week in New York City, in explaining the company’s present distribution policy. “As we transitioned to LED, we felt we needed a national presence on floors very quickly. As of now, those are our primary retail channels.”
On both 4K sets, premium features include Info Bar, a proximity sensor that works with face recognition via a built-in camera to display messages and other information of special interest to the user. Also on the 4K sets but featured throughout the other sets are myStream, which recommends content, and Voice Operation, which enables log-in and search by voice. Every set comes with a touch pad remote endowed with a “my” button that allows rapid search of favorite content. Each set also features my Home Screen, which can call up and display preset personalized multi-element screens saved for up to five viewers. Also, every set’s picture can be calibrated via Panasonic’s TV Remote App right on a tablet or smartphone while the viewer is watching the TV image.