Panasonic has updated its Viera range of flat panel televisions, unveiling six new plasma and LCD models yesterday. The new televisions feature the same sleek styling of its predecessors, and adds high definition capability and HDMI connectivity across most models.
The new Viera range is made up of three new LCDs (32", 26" and 23") and three plasmas (the HD-capable 42" and 50", plus a standard definition 42"). Panasonic is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to LCD, saying it will limit its LCD television offerings in Australia to models under 32", and keeping the larger screen sizes strictly to plasma. Panasonic Australia managing director Toshiro Kisaka says the company sees plasmas as more suited for home theatre set-ups, while LCDs are for other areas like kitchens or bedrooms.
Unfortunately, none of the new models feature a high definition tuner as standard, instead offering a regular analog tuner. A Panasonic spokesman said that at this stage of the technology's life, external HD tuners produced better pictures than internal ones, hence the decision not to integrate HD into the new Vieras. LG, however, has a plasma television with a built-in HD tuner already on the market.
The new 500A series Vieras include the 50" TH-50PV500A plasma (AU$8799), the 42" TH-42PV500A plasma (AU$5999), the 32" TX-32LX500A LCD (AU$4499) and the 26" TX-26LX500A (AU$3299). All of the 500A series sets are HD ready, feature HDMI connectors, SD/PC card slots, and have Panasonic's proprietary 'Smart Sound' speaker system (which includes four 16mm wide speakers at the left and right of screen, plus two woofer units at the bottom).
The other sets released were the SD 42" TH-42PA50A plasma (AU$4499) and the 23" TX-23LX50A LCD television (AU$2199).