Panasonic seems completely serious when it comes to combining online video with normal TV. They have no less than a dozen pre-installed apps planned for their upcoming Viera connected TVs and the expected total available apps now sits at around 120. The big names like Netflix and Hulu are already on board as embedded apps, pre-installed. Panasonic is also allowing developers and publishers to create apps at a rapid pace.
The Panasonic Viera
Panasonic stated that they don't look at the content but make sure that the app works properly with the TVs before making it available to consumers. Since the Panasonic Viera system uses remote storage, known these days as the cloud, there's nothing that actually needs to be installed on the TV and so all interaction is streamed to the unit from the Internet.
"Ultimately, this is all about the user experience," said Kate Solovya, merchandising and operations manager of the interactive content and services group. "Any restrictions that are artificially put in place by cable companies [or others] are not going to work in the long run.”
Other online video notables with apps now include Break Media, Amazon instant video, DailyMotion, Ustream, Cinema Now, and YouTube.
The Panasonic Viera Connect Market
Working toward that sort of single login setup that I'm always saying I want (and I'm sure other consumers do as well), Panasonic recently announced Viera Connect Market, which allows Viera connected TV owners to only input credit card info once and use it in a variety of apps, a list of which has yet to be announced. I imagine that it would work for movies on demand as well as other Panasonic electronics which could be purchased through a Panasonic app.
The Viera televisions are also able to do video conferencing through Skype as well as social networking on Twitter and Facebook.
Yes, games are on the list as well with the most notable of them being Asphalt 5 and a separate gamepad that connects to the television.
It certainly seems like Panasonic is looking to go head-to-head with Samsung, the company I think is currently leading in their connected TV and devices strategy. I still think that Samsung has the edge with the Galaxy series smartphones and tablets that can communicate with their TVs for certain things.
Time for OTT Kombat! FIGHT!