Panasonic Viera VT20, V20, S20 series: Freeview HD, 3D and LED-backlit TVs

It's 3D year, and Panasonic wants to sell you a new TV. If 3D isn't your thing, Panny is happy to sell you a regular TV too

3D is here, after much hype and many headaches -- not all caused by those glasses -- and Panasonic has a TV ready to support its spangly new Blu-ray player . Not only that, but there are also a whole range of new TVs with LED backlighting, Freeview HD and smart networking. Even more exciting is new plasma technology, which Panasonic thinks will see its displays accepted as the new gold standard for flat-panel TVs.

At the flagship end of the range, Panasonic has its VT20 series. With screen sizes of 65 and 50 inches, these are aimed at the serious home-cinema enthusiast. They offer Panasonic's full, 1,080-line, moving-picture resolution -- important, because many 1080p TVs don't cope well with moving images, and don't actually offer a Full HD picture at all times.

The VT20 series also offers a native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1. Another impressive number is the 600Hz sub-field drive, aimed at smoothing motion to baby-bottom levels. The VT20 series also boasts Freeview HD and freesat HD , which means you'll be getting plenty of free hi-def for your lovely new telly.

The V20 range has both plasma and LCD variants. The plasma range comes in 50- and 42-inch screen sizes and has the same 600Hz and full-motion 1080p system as the VT20 range. It lacks the 3D support however, but adds THX certification and has a slim, 50mm profile with a titanium colour bezel. The LCD V20 is available in 37- and 42-inch screen sizes and has the luxury of LED illumination and an IPS panel for maximum viewing angle. Both the plasma and LCD ranges are freesat HD and Freeview HD ready.

If you're keen on Freeivew HD, but aren't awash with cash, the S20 series promises to get you watching HD over the air without annoying your wallet too much. The 50-, 46- and 42-inch plasma displays and the 37- and 32-inch LCD models all feature tuners capable of receiving the service. In addition to that, they have 2,000,000:1 contrast ratios and the Viera image viewer, for enjoying your digital photos.

Many of these new screens also support what Panasonic is calling 'Smart Networking'. This encompasses a whole bunch of technologies such as VieraCast , which offers access to YouTube and other streaming video sites. You can also connect a camera to the TV for two-way Skype conversations, and there's the promise of an HD movie streaming service called Acetrax coming too.

We'll be getting our hands on all Panasonic's latest gear this week, so stay tuned to Crave for pictures, video and first impressions.

 

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