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Unedited press release follows:
PANASONIC ADDS SKYPE VOICE AND VIDEO CALLING ON 2011 VIERA CAST-ENABLED PANASONIC BLU-RAY DISC PLAYERS
2011 VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players Allow Consumers to Make Skype Video Calls on Any HDTV
Unique Feature Also Stores Incoming Skype Video Calls on the Blu-ray Disc Player When Recipient Is Unavailable
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 5, 2011) – Panasonic, a worldwide leader in High Definition technology and built-in TV web entertainment, and SkypeTM, announced today that Skype voice and video calling will be available on 2011 Panasonic VIERA CASTTM-enabled Blu-ray DiscTM Players. Skype-capable Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled Plasma HDTVs were first introduced in 2010. The new technology will be demonstrated at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show this week.
The addition of Skype to Panasonic’s new DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210, and DMP-BDT110 VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players allows consumers to make Skype voice and video calls on virtually any HDTV using a Skype-compatible camera1 (sold separately).
Skype on VIERA CAST delivers many familiar Skype features including:
* Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
* Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype’s low rates
* The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number
* Voicemail (set-up required)
* Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
With 124 million average monthly connected users* Skype is known for providing free voice and video calling for people on Skype around the world and for low cost calls from Skype to non-Skype users .
In addition to providing a larger screen for video calling, SkypeTM on VIERA CASTTM gives the user a range of benefits including:
· High definition video at up to 1280×720 resolution at a maximum frame rate of 22 fps (conventional Skype use on a PC has a resolution of 640×480).
· The ability for callers to leave Skype video or voice messages when the recipient is not available which are stored in the Blu-ray Player for playback. An indicator light on the front of the Blu-ray DiscTM Player’s display alerts recipients to the waiting message(s).
· VIERA CAST’s easy-to-use GUI that is operable from the Panasonic Blu-ray Disc Player’s remote.
· Wi-Fi capability– the BDT310 and BDT210 come with built in Wi-Fi, while the BDT110 requires a wireless adaptor (sold separately).
“The addition of Skype on VIERA CAST video and voice calling capabilities to our 2011 Blu-ray Disc Players really takes things to a whole new level of versatility and connectivity for our Blu-ray consumers,” said Alex Fried, Senior Product Manager, Video, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Now owners of our 2011 VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players can connect with family and friends via Skype on our VIERA HDTVs or any HDTV in their home. Through VIERA CAST on our Blu-ray Disc Players, Skype users can feel more connected with family and friends than ever before by communicating in big-screen high definition in a setting that truly replicates a face to face conversation..”
“Skype on Panasonic’s Blu-ray Disc Players represents the evolution of our continued partnership to deliver TV-based communications solutions to Skype users and Panasonic consumers,” said Manrique Brenes, Director of Business Development for Skype. “Consumers now have a more affordable way to share connections with family, friends and colleagues on HDTVs using Skype.”
Since its launch in 2008, Panasonic’s IPTV features have grown to include2 Skype voice and video calling, Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, Twitter, Pandora, Amazon Video on Demand™, You Tube™, Google’s Picasa™ Web Album, Bloomberg News, and more. VIERA CAST requires no external box or PC3 and is accessed via a single button on the television remote control. There is no fee to use the VIERA CASTTM functionality4.
About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC), a market and technology leader in High Definition television, is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources and protect our environment through the company’s Eco Ideas programs.
SkypeTM is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Everyday, people everywhere also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles. Download Skype to your computer or mobile phone at skype.com.
* Skype Connected Users – From the three months ended June 30, 2009 to the three months ended June 30, 2010.
1 Skype video calling requires access to a broadband Internet connection as well as a Skype-compatible camera available from Panasonic, sold separately, to make video calls.
2 Not all VIERA CAST features are available on both VIERA Connect-enabled VIERA® HDTVs and VIERA CAST-enabled Blu-ray DiscTM Players due to specific technology requirements required to activate certain applications. Specific app availabilities and compatibilities will be announced at a later date.
3 Access to a broadband internet connection is required to access VIERA CAST features.
4 There is no fee to use the VIERA CAST functionality however some VIERA CAST services such as Netflix and Amazon VOD have a separate fee structure.