LAS VEGAS -- CES has barely started, but it's already clear that 2013 will be the year of customizable smart TVs. At its press event on Jan. 7, Panasonic unveiled its new line of Viera Smart TVs that will incorporate Web-based technology to seamlessly integrate mobile and television.
"Traditional TV has finally become your TV," Shiro Katajima, president of Panasonic's Consumer Marketing Company in North America said. "We know that content is what drives the consumer home experience, and moving into 2013 our consumer product innovations are focusing on ... personalization and ease of access for content on your TV."
Panasonic's new SmartViera TVs will come in two flavors -- LED and Plasma. The LED models will be available in screen sizes ranging from 32 inches to 65 inches and the plasma versions will come in diagonal lengths of 42 inches through 65 inches.
Panasonic plans to release 32 HD SmartTV models this year, 16 of which will be plasma-based on the other half using LED technology. The company has not specified a release date beyond 2013, and no pricing information has been announced.
The flagship brand for Panasonic's plasma model will be the ZT series, which integrates these myHomeScreen voice command and face integration features. As for the LED versions, Panasonic will be touting its upcoming WT series. This line of SmartViera TVs comes equipped with an enhanced IPS panel which delivers a wider viewing angle.
Each SmartViera TV will come with Panasonic's new myHomeScreen interface. This essentially brings personalized content together on one central hub catered to a user's personal taste. Each household member can create their own home screen on a single television.
This refreshed line of Smart television sets will be compatible with voice command and face recognition. In addition to incorporating voice command into the devices' traditional controls, users can also ask the TV to read Web content aloud.
Another feature that come with the myHomeScreen interface is the new and improved Swipe and Share 2.0. This allows users to share video and photo content from their tablets directly on their Smart TV.
Panasonic has also incorporated editing features, which allow users to touch the SmartViera screen with a Touch Pen stylus enabling an editing toolbar to appear. This means that users can also write messages on their photos, similar to the S Pen features seen on Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 handset.
The electronics manufacturer also announced a partnership with YouTube that will incorporate the video search engine's new technology in its new line of televisions. YouTube is rolling out a feature that would allow users to connect their smartphone or tablet to the same wireless network.
This means that mobile devices will automatically sync with televisions, with no need to enter activation or registration codes. In addition to using their smartphones or tablets as a remote control, users can create queues and video playlists directly from their device. This new YouTube functionality will be available this spring.
Panasonic struck a partnership with the Home Shopping Network to launch a new remote app that allows users to engage directly from their TV. Avid shoppers can create their own on-demand channels, browse categories, and make purchases without the need of any additional services or devices.
Panasonic is just one of the many television manufacturers expected to unveil new Smart HDTVs at this year's convention. It's becoming evident that manufacturers are bridging the gap between mobile devices and entertainment even more closely, creating a unified experience across electronics.