Panasonic adds Skype to Viera TV line-up2010 Viera TVs get web connectivity boost
17 February 2010
Panasonic's Viera TV line-up will feature improved web, wireless and home networking connectivity - including access to Skype and video-on-demand. Which? has been to the 2010 Panasonic convention in Munich to find out more.
Connectivity is one of the main themes of the Panasonic convention, and key to this is Viera Cast.
To find out how Panasonic and Viera Cast have fared in our tests to date check our expert TV reviews.
Viera Cast is a way of accessing not the full internet but rather tailor made 'widgets' on your Panasonic TV. New additions to the widget line-up include Acetrax and Skype.
With Skype using an optional camera allows you to make video calls via the TV to other Skype users on PCs or other Viera TVs. The camera will cost around £200 and the option available on G20, V20 and VT20 ranges.
For movie fans Panasonic has included Acetrax - a video-on-demand movie service allowing users to stream, rent or buy content on their TV. For those buying content, the movies are stored on the Acetrax server, and then can be streamed to the TV on request.
To download onto a PC and share with other devices a PC licence is required. At the moment only SD content is available.
Its similar to the Samsung/LoveFilm tie-up announced earlier in the year.
USB, DNLA and Wi-Fi ready
USB ports, common on other brands, are a new addition although SD card slots have been standard on Panasonic TVs for a few years now. Panasonic has righted that omission in 2010 with the addition of not one but two USB ports on many models.
Video, pictures and music (the latter another new addition for 2010) can all be viewed on screen via either USB, SD card or streamed from your home network via the DNLA enabled ethernet port. The USB port can even double up as an external hard disk recorder – turning the TV with a USB memory device connected into a PVR.
However, programmes recorded onto a hard-drive are encrypted and cannot be shared with other TVs or PCs
Top of the range models are Wi-Fi ready, though the wireless dongle required is an optional extra on the G20 series. It comes supplied with the V20 and VT20 TVs.
Which? TV reviews
Michael Briggs, Which? TV expert, said, ‘Panasonic seem to be covering all the bases with their new ranges. Adding USB ports and music file playback are welcome additions alongside the more headline grabbing Skype and Video-on-demand services.' Briggs went on to add, 'We're a bit surprised by the encryption on USB recordings, which makes it impossible to watch programming, on say your PC, even if its just recorded Freeview. Nevertheless we can't wait to get hold of its new ranges to test out all the claims.’
Find out what we thought of Panasonic's 2009 line-up by checking our extensive TV reviews. Each television is put through an intensive 6 week testing process at our completely independent test lab.
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