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Unedited press release follows:
PANASONIC’S 2012 BLU-RAY DISC™ PLAYER LINE UP FOCUSES ON SMART HOME NETWORKING, HIGH-QUALITY PICTURE AND SOUND, EASE-OF-USE, NEW SLIM DESIGN AND ECO EFFICIENCY
New Models Feature Expanded VIERA Connect, Improved Processor, Smartphone Remote, Improved Super Resolution Processor, Built-In WiFi System and Reduced Power Consumption
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic Corporation of North America (NYSE:PC), a major developer and contributor to the success of the Blu-ray format, today introduced an expanded Blu-ray Disc player lineup with four new Full HD 3D models – the DMP-BBT01, DMP-BDT500, DMP-BDT320, DMP-BDT220, and two 2D Blu-ray Disc players – DMP-BD87 and the DMP-BD77. All four of the 3D models include Panasonic’s proprietary IPTV platform, VIERA Connect1, while the 2D models feature IP VOD1, a service that offers a limited, though targeted, selection of such sites as Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow and YouTube.
The Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc players – BBT01; BDT500, BDT320 and BDT 220 are all high-quality Blu-ray Disc players that feature an improved UniPhier chip processor, 24p output for VOD, an expanded VIERA Connect functionality, and FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec),192kHz/32bit Audio DAC (not available on the DMP-BBT01), Smartphone remote control capability, a new touchpad remote control – available on DMP-BBT01, DMP-BDT500, DMP-BDT320 – 2D-to-3D up-conversion2, which can convert 2D images from VIERA Connect, DVDs and Blu-ray discs into 3D with natural depth perception, a new slim design and a unique slot-in drive that is found in two of the models- the DMP-BBT01 and the DMP-BDT320. The slot-in drive allows one to insert a disc without the need for a tray and prevents one from inadvertently loading a second disc. In addition, the DMP-BBT01 introduces a new design concept – the player comes with a stand and can be operated either vertically, or horizontally.
Panasonic strives every year to improve products that already have a history of technological and critical acclaim. For 2012, the Blu-ray Disc players build upon that philosophy with a line up that includes a number of improvements over last year’s models. The UniPhier single chip signal processing LSI employs a simplified circuit architecture that eliminates unnecessary wiring, resulting in reducing noise on the picture and sound signal to the absolute minimum. The UniPhier chip produces high clarity sound and turns off the analog video circuit when not needed – otherwise the analog video circuit is working even when not in use, causing interference to the other circuits. Adaptive Chroma Processing, a high quality image processing technology, precisely processes the video signal of each pixel in vertical and horizontal directions, resulting in a 50% increase in vertical color data processing as compared to 2010. A redesigned DVD Super Resolution Processor helps produce natural pictures with no false contours, higher resolution for details and a reduction in noise, all resulting in richer gradation.
The new 2012 models can convert 2D content from VIERA Connect2, DVD discs and Blu-ray Discs into 3D images with stunning depth. Also new for 2012 is technology that allows for VOD 24p output, thereby synching with the original 24 fps (frames per second) video format and delivering film like motion characteristics. Using 24 fps each frame is uniformly converted, so more natural and flickerless images are reproduced.
Recognizing that audio is an essential component to any viewing experience, Panasonic has made a number of improvements to insure that the audio quality meets the same high standards as the video quality. To that end, the DMP-BDT500, DMP-BDT320 and the DMP-BDT220 utilize a 192kHz/32bit audio DAC, while the BDT500 includes high grade audio parts – gold plated terminals, high grade electric capacitor, insulator – to reproduce audio content that is faithful to the original. The BDT500 provides for 7.1 channel output and includes twin HDMI outputs, allowing one to be dedicated for audio output. Not only does this result in less interference of the video signal but the additional HDMI makes the BDT500 compatible with legacy amplifiers. Audio is further improved via Panasonic’s unique clock control technology that drastically reduces jitter during HDMI transmission, thereby lessening noise and delivering pure sound. Furthermore, the 2012 players are compatible with a variety of formats such as the lossless audio codec FLAC, an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. In addition, the Blu-ray Disc players simulate the warm, comforting sound of tube amplifiers with six distinct sound environments.
Panasonic’s IPTV platform VIERA Connect, now under the Smart VIERA umbrella, has been expanded and now utilizes cloud technology to present an unlimited number of entertainment, social networking, gaming, health & fitness, sports and news sites. The 3D Blu-ray Disc players provide the user with a limitless array of sites. The user can now enjoy such sites as Skype™3, Netflix™, Amazon VOD™, You Tube™, huluplus, CinemaNow, Vudu, Pandora, Facebook, twitter, Accuweather, AP, Wall Street Journal, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS4, My Space, Disney Publishing, Flixster and a number of gaming sites. The two 2D players – DMP-BD87 and DMP-BD77- provide access to IP VOD, a targeted internet solution that offers access to Netflix, CinemaNow, Vudu and YouTube.
Connectivity and ease of use continue to be of prime importance to Panasonic. The entire 2012 line features DLNA for easy connection to other DLNA equipped products, VIERA Link – provides connectivity to other VIERA Link compatible products and NAS compatibility. This year’s players are also compatible with the NTFS format HDD. Five of the six Blu-ray Disc players provide built-in WiFi, while the DMP-BD77 is wireless ready. To personalize the experience, the new multi user mode allows one to register four users and each can record individual, favorite settings. They can also select a personal icon from 16 pre-installed images, or photos from an external source. To further personalize the player, there is the option to customize the home screen with any image the consumer chooses. Also new this year is the ability to use any Smartphone3 as the remote control. There is also a new touch pad remote control that offers simple, intuitive operation.
Always mindful of the impact on the environment, the 2012 models are Energy Star Qualified. Additionally the DMP-BDT320 features the Smart Eco Sensor, which detects the user’s movement and switches to the quick start mode (boot time approximately 0.5 seconds) automatically. When one is within16 feet of the player it is in ECO mode, using approximately 0.1 watts. When motion is detected within 16 feet the player turns on the quick start mode (approximately 3.2 watts). The new slim design cuts down on packaging, thereby saving on paper and allowing more players to be placed on a pallet, resulting in less trucks and fuel being used.
“Panasonic is always working to improve its technology, design, and commitment to the environment, while producing products that provide the consumer with great entertainment experiences and are easy to operate. Panasonic’s 2012 Blu-ray Player Alex Fried, Senior Product Manager, Panasonic, Entertainment Group. “Features such as the slot-in drive, home screen customization, enhancement of VIERA Connect allow consumers to easily personalize their entertainment experience to fit their lifestyle.”
1 Requires an Ethernet connection
2 Except for Skype
3 Skype requires a compatible HD Web camera
4 Some sites require subscription fees