May 6, 2009 Although LCD has been clearly outselling plasmas TVs in recent times, plasma still maintains a number of advantages over LCD, most notably in contrast ratio. So while some manufacturers, such as Pioneer, have ceased making plasma panels, Panasonic, however, is persisting with plasma with plans to launch 11 new VIERA models this year. Although the company understand the value of LCD, too, with nine LCD models included in the 2009 VIERA TV line-up.
Panasonic’s 2009 VIERA plasma models are equipped with an integrated high-definition digital tuner and boast improved energy efficiency. On the back of the range's better energy rating, Panasonic has also launched its Energy Wise website, which provides information about the energy star ratings of each VIERA model and allows consumers to calculate the running costs of the new models. All its plasmas are also lead and mercury-free.
Panasonic has also incorporated improved connectivity features across the range, such as VIERA Image Viewer, making it possible to view AVCHD movie footage or digital images from your camera, via the TV’s SD card slot. VIERA Link lets you operate compatible Panasonic devices, connected by HDMI, via a single remote.
The new VIERA Plasma range includes the flagship Z1 Premium Full HD Series, V10 FHD Series, G10 FHD Series, S10 FHD Series and X10 HD Series.
- The X10 Series is Panasonic's entry level range offering 720p HD and 600Hz Sub-field Drive designed to deliver clear, sharp fast-moving images. The X10 Series are available now and consists of 42 and 50-inch models priced at AUD$1,849 (approx. USD$1,354) and AUD$2,399 (approx. USD$1,740) respectively.
- The remaining series make the move to Full HD and start with the S10 Series, which is part of Pansonic’s new Eco PDP range designed to deliver improved energy efficiency. Key features of the S10 Series include 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 24p playback. Panasonic is offering the S10 Series in 42, 46, 50 and 54-inch sizes with prices of AUD$2,499 (about USD$1,814) for the 42-inch and AUD$2,899 (USD$2,105) for the 46-inch, both of which will be available from June, while prices are still to be announced for the remaining 50 and 50-inch models which are due in July and October respectively.
- The G10 Series is also Full HD and features panels Panasonic calls NeoPDPs, which combine improvements in materials and processes, discharge gas and cell design, and circuit and drive technology, to provide twice the luminous efficiency and improved energy efficiency. The G10 Series also incorporates a 600HZ Sub Field Drive, 2,000,000+:1 dynamic contrast ratio and design improvements, such as an AR Filter and swivel stand. Models are available from June in 42, 46 and 50-inch sizes for AUD$2,749 (about USD$1,995), AUD$3,299 (USD$2,395) and AUD$3,799 (USD$2,758) respectively.
- Panasonic has slimmed things down for the V10 Series, which consists of a 50-inch model measuring 2-inches thick. It also includes a 600Hz Sub-field Drive, 2,000,000+:1 dynamic contrast ratio, Digital Cinema Color and full THX Display certification. The V10 is due to hit shelves in August at a price yet to be announced.
- The flagship Z1 Series includes the premium features of its stablemates in an even slimmer 1-inch thick NeoPDP panel. It also boasts 1080p Wireless HDMI HD technology, which cleans up the cable clutter, and is available in the new 54-inch size. The Z1 should be available from September at a price to be announced.
Panasonic has always believed that the choice between plasma and LCD technology is application-based and its desire to expand its presence in the LCD market is reflected in its LCD range. The range comprises of nine models, including six Full HD models, the first two-inch, super-thin VIERA FHD LCD TV as well as the introduction of 42-inch and 19-inch models. The new LCD models incorporate some of the features found in the plasma models, such as HD tuners, VIERA LINK and VIERA Image Viewer, while the IPS Alpha LCD Panels deliver a 178° wide viewing angle, 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 24p Smooth Film playback.
Perhaps not to overtly differentiate between both TV ranges in the consumer's mind, Panasonic has carried the model names of the plasmas across to the LCD range. The HD X10 Series LCD is available in 26, 32 and new 19-inch screen sizes, while the Full HD S10 and G10 Series are available in 32 and 37-inch varieties, with a 42-inch S10 model due to arrive in September. Finally the V10 Series is Panasonic’s top-of-the-line Full HD LCD, featuring a 2-inch thin panel and 100Hz Motion Picture Pro 3 technology. All models also include HDMI and PC inputs.
With the constant improvements to the existing technologies such as LED backlighting and bigger and bigger screen sizes, not to mention the raft of new display technologies, such as OLED and Laser the choice for consumers doesn't look like getting any easier anytime soon.