Viera – Panasonic's latest signing


After several years of high profile launches Panasonic had a fairly quiet CES. Top billing went to a new range of flat screen LCD and plasma TVs the company has christened Viera. There are ten models in the series ranging in size from 14 to 50 inches. Several of the models are HDTV sets destined solely for the US market. We don’t think the World Cup winning Arsenal footballer is aware that Panasonic has half-inched his name, but we’d imagine his agents will be on the phone to the Matsushita bigwigs shortly.

One Panasonic launch that appears to be on ice for the moment is that of the company’s AVC media server. Apparently the company feels that market isn’t ready for the hard disk based device that wirelessly streams video to screens throughout the home. Panny execs did however give journalists a glimpse of how the AVC device might work.

It is based on the next generation HomePlug AV specification as developed by the HomePlug Power Alliance. This enables the transmission of data through the electrical wiring of a home and then on to wireless networks. The key for this system is its speed. It can output data at 170mbps – much faster than the existing wireless standard 802.11g and quick enough to carry a number of high definition video streams.

Other highlights from Panasonic include an extension of its range of DVD-RAM recorders with one model paired with a 160MB hard disk, a 1Gigabyte Secure Digital (SD) card that’s set to debut in February and a wireless DECT home phone that barks out the name of the person who is calling in place of a ringtone.

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