Panasonic’s Spring 2013 Intros in Plasma and LCD LEDApril 10, 2013 By Nancy Klosek
The company has pared its number of plasma series from six in 2012 to five, and its LCD series from nine in 2012 to seven, this year. All LCD models are now LED, and all are edge-lit except for the entry-level B series.
The plasma lines are led by the two-model ZT series in 65- and 60-inch sizes, shipping in June (prices to be announced). Panasonic is characterizing these flagship sets as their “beyond reference” TVs, boasting “ultimate black” levels. Plasma picture quality enhancements include increased color gamut purity due to the use of a new red phosphor, along with bettered motion-image reproduction and minimalized afterimages, due to the development of a faster Focused Field Drive (FFD) specification, upped from 1/2500th of a second in 2012 to 1/3000th of a second this year.
The plasma three-model VT series ships in mid-April (65-, 60- and 55-inch sizes at $3,599.99, $2,999.99 and $2,599.99, respectively). The plasma four-model ST series is available now in 65-, 60-, 55- and 50-inch sizes, as is the plasma S series in 65-, 60- and 50-inch sizes; the latter model has an SRP of $829.99.
LED models are as large as 60 inches, and they start at $799.99 for the 42-inch E Series SKU, and range upward in price to the $2,999.99 WT series 55-inch model due out in mid-April. Picture quality enhancements include the use of a re-engineered IPS panel in the flagship WT series as well as the DT and ET series; the panel is said to significantly reduce washed-out images common with off-angle viewing while increasing brightness, color and contrast. Use of the new IPS panel has also enabled Panasonic to offer a wider range of Energy Star 6.0 LED products.
As for operational ease, the company has included its My Home Screen feature on the ZT, VT and ST plasma sets and on the WT, DT, ET and E60 LED sets. My Home Screen allows viewers to create personalized home screens using either preset templates or blank grids.
Voice interaction, available on the plasma ZT and VT series and on the WT and DT LED series, lets users say keywords into either a touchpad controller or smartphone, which then transmits the search result for display on, and verbal readout from, the TV screen.