Panasonic ups game in Connected TV with activation of sports apps

MUMBAI: US consumer electronics company Panasonic, which among other things focuses on connected TV entertainment, has announced the activation of professional sports apps for baseball and basketball on its 2011 line of Viera Connect-enabled HDTVs.
The planned addition of interactive sports apps, including professional baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer, was initially announced in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Viera Connect, which the company says is an enhancement of its connected IPTV offerings, includes a collection of applications such as expanded video streaming and two-way interactive features from gaming to social networking and fitness programmes. 
In addition to popular video applications such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand, the activation of professional sports apps will enable owners of Panasonic’s VIERA Connect-enabled 2011 Viera HDTVs to watch their favourite teams live or catch-up on archived games3 optimised for viewing on their large-screen flat-panel HDTVs.

Viera Connect will be highlighted in Panasonic’s 15-market ‘Experience Amazing’ Tour across the US.

Viera Connect will also be highlighted in a new print, TV and online ad campaign which focusses on the picture quality and features of its 2011 line of Viera HDTVs.

Panasonic US VP Merwan Mereby said, “Viera Connect breaks the boundaries of the walled garden structure of initial IPTV programmes and delivers an unprecedented, more robust, two-way interactive set of features for consumers to enjoy directly through their Panasonic Viera HDTVs.

The activation of the sports apps for professional baseball and basketball are great examples of the amazing content and connectivity Viera Connect is delivering to consumers and there are many more exciting and popular apps on the way.”

In the coming weeks, Panasonic plans to further expand upon the sports offerings for consumers with the activation of professional hockey and soccer apps. Details on these activations as well as a host of other sports, fitness, video streaming, social networking, and interactive gaming apps will be announced at a later date.

Viera Connect will also allow consumers to personalise their connected HDTV experience to their specific interests through the new Viera Connect Market--an online store featuring an ever-growing catalogue of hardware products, as well as free and paid apps from third party developers.

Since its launch in 2008, Panasonic’s IPTV features have grown to include Skype voice and video calling4, Netflix, Hulu, Twitter, Pandora, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Picasa Web Albums, Weather, Bloomberg, and more. Viera Connect requires no external box or PC3 and is accessed via a single button on the television remote control.

USB connectivity on VIERA Connect-enabled HDTVs also enables the addition of a wireless LAN adaptor (802.11b or faster), a keyboard for more efficient navigation and communication, and USB memory which supports AVCHD video and JPEG photos. There is no fee to use the VIERA Connect functionality.

Highlighting Panasonic’s VIERA Connect offerings in 2011 will be a library of gaming titles including advanced games from Gameloft (Asphalt 5) as well as casual gaming titles from Accedo (strategy), Aim At Entertainment (card, board game, and strategy), and Oberon (arcade, card, and game shows).

VIERA Connect will also feature health and fitness apps from companies including Withings, BodyMedia, and ICON. The Withings app will offer the ability for users to measure and track their weight and body mass index via a wireless scale – the Withings Wi Scale – which interacts directly with the Panasonic VIERA HDTV.

BodyMedia’s app will enable users to wear a wireless arm monitor – the BodyMedia FIT Armband BW -- that tracks steps, calories burned, heart rate and other vital signs and wirelessly communicates them to the VIERA HDTV. ICON’s iFit app will enable wireless communication with select exercise equipment including a treadmill so that users can track their progress and key vital signs during and after workouts.

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