September 04, 2013, 11:23 AM — Panasonic on Wednesday announced the company's first 4K TV, which allows users to play content from a USB drive or the Internet, and briefly showed its Windows 8-based, 20-inch 4K tablet.
The TV sector has been struggling in the last couple of years. The addition of 3D has largely been a failure, so TV manufacturers have instead set their sights on 4K resolution sets, which have a 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution.
Panasonic's first try is the Smart Viera TX-L65WT600, which has a 65-inch screen and can display up to 60 frames per second.
As an industry first, the WT600 has an integrated 4K H.264 decoder, which allows users to play back of 4K video files via USB and SD cards, but -- even more importantly -- via the Internet, according to Panasonic.
The set is also compatible with the new HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2a connection standards, which ensures it will work with future 4K-players, set-top boxes and next-generation gaming consoles, Panasonic said.
One problem with current 4K TVs is that they are too expensive for most consumers. The WT600 isn't going to change that; when it starts shipping in Europe in October it will cost €7,000 (US$9,000) including value added tax.
The company is also developing smaller products. In January, Panasonic showed a prototype of a Windows 8-based tablet with a 20-inch 4K screen, which is now a real product that will go on sale shortly, according to Panasonic. The company will be sharing more details about the product on Thursday, it said.
Panasonic is maybe most known for its TVs, but the company also has a large portfolio of kitchen appliances, which just like today's smartphones will become voice-controlled in the not-too-distant future, according to Laurent Abadie, chairman and CEO Panasonic Europe.
"We are doing private demonstrations in the back. We already have the software working ... so in Europe it's maybe a matter of one or two years," he said.
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