FlatpanelsHD attended the Panasonic Convention 2010 in Munich, Germany, on the Olympic Stadium. Here we report to you from the Munich event with further information and impressions of the new flat panel Panasonic TVs in the G20, V20, VT20 etc. ranges.
Panasonic had a lot on the program from almost all product areas. We will only be looking at the new VIERA line-up, though. In the article you’ll also find a lot of actual photos of the new products as well as videos from the event.
See the presentation below where Panasonic is talking about the new 2010 line-up. The video has been recorded with a handheld camera and features a Japanese speaker. Read on for our impressions, pictures and more video.
Panasonic Convention 2010
The Panasonic Convention is a gigantic event in Germany with journalist from all over Europe and I think we were about 500 people gathered. We got a chance to roam around and play with all of the new products but our final thoughts will have to wait for the G20 review that will be online soon here on FlatpanelsHD.
Panasonic is launching 69 new plasma TVs in 2010 and even though the number might give some associations Panasonic ensures,"We did not do it on purpose ... But the new TVs are sexy."
Panasonic is also launching a new range of LED models (LCD-TVs with LED) with 3 new series in smaller size classes that the plasma-TVs are not focusing on. And in 2010 Panasonic’s new LCD/LED models will be launched in 42 inches as well.
Panasonic focuses on 3D and connectivity in 2010. The first point is obvious, but I want elaborate in a moment. The second point includes all of the new Internet and media features on the new TV sets.
3DTV is the next big thing from Panasonic and in 2010 Panasonic wants to introduce a 3D technology that is radically different from the ones you’ve encountered in the 80s and 90s. With the new 3D technology manufacturers (including Samsung and LG) will be able to deliver Full HD 3D images to each eye which has never been possible before.
See the story of 3D in the video below. In the video Panasonic also explains how 3D works in 2010 and why it is so different from the previous approaches:
One of main reasons for headaches with previous 3D technologies was caused by “crosstalk” that is a term used to explain the overlap of the different images for each eye, as well as the fact that previous 3D systems used interlaced pictures instead of progressive. And because the brain had to interpret all of this information it had to work extra hard causing nausea or headaches.
Passive 3D to the left – active 3D to the right
Panasonic utilizes the same 3D method as most other flat panel TV manufactures. This method is called frames sequential and uses active shutter 3D glasses. Some cinemas today also use the passive polarized glasses as seen below.
Passive 3D to the left – active 3D to the right
Panasonic had invited Bill Foster from the independent company FutureSource to talk about the prospects and potential for the 3D market.
Bill Foster, FutureSource
Bill Foster believes that 3D has huge potential today because of the new 3D frame sequential method but Foster also emphasizes that content is essential, and eventually content needs to be the driver rather than tech products.
Some Blu-Ray 3D releases are coming in 2010 and several TV channels are on the way but in the next few years Foster believes that 3D will grow based on huge events such as big football matches or movies such as the Avatar movie.
Bill Foster stresses that there is no 3D format war. The passive system (with polarized glasses) and the active system (with active shutter glasses) do use different glasses, sure, but the method to shoot the video and material is exactly the same.
Panasonic 3D camera
You shoot 3D with a 3D camera that records two images: one for each eye. The next step is the glasses that separates the two images and lets the brain translate the two images into 3D - just like you do all the time in the real world.
Bill Foster believes that the biggest driver in 3D penetration will be the gaming industry. 3D games (such as the Avatar game) already exits and the PlayStation 3 will be updated to support 3D this summer.
Toy Story 3 is coming in 3D
Bill Foster also believes that animation productions will be a driver in the next few years. Movies such as Toy Story 1 and 2 were not originally made for 3D release but because it’s computer animated movies the studios can convert it into 3D by re-rendering. It’s not the same as the 2D to 3D conversions that Samsung promises but a much more sophisticated process that was also used on productions such as Disney/Pixar’s Up.
But what is important for 3D? First and foremost the technology. You need very low response time to get sharp and clear 3D pictures and therefore the plasma technology is also a suited technology.
Below you can see the expected growth in 3DTV sales over the next few years according to FutureSource.
The VIERA CAST technology enables users to connect to the Internet and VIERA CAST will be updated in 2010 as well.
Expect the full VIERA CAST update in May / June 2010. This will happen automatically on your Panasonic TV.
Services on the VIERA CAST home screen will vary depending on the country you live in but Panasonic mentioned these services for Europe.
qTom: Music service - only available in Germany YouTube: You know that one Dailymotion: Huge video database Twitter: Micro-blog EuroNews: Catch-up TV Ace Irax: Movies on Demand service. Available in 5 countries at the moment.
Panasonic Skype camera
Finally, Skype will be incorporated in some of the new Panasonic ranges. The Skype camera is optional and purchased separately. It can record video in 720p and has 4 microphones.
Panasonic’s 2010 TV line-up
After the speeches we had the opportunity to play with the new TVs and here are our initial impressions.
You couldn’t avoid the gigantic 152-inch Panasonic plasma-TV standing in the midst of all. The TV has a resolution of 4096x2160 pixels and is massive!
Panasonic 152” plasma-Tv
We also examined the new VT20, V20 and G20 ranges.
One of the first comparisons on the floor was the 2009 vs. 2010 black level comparison. It was a Panasonic presentation but even though the new 2010 TVs were promoted heavily we could see an improvement in black levels from V10 to V20.
V20 has visibly better blacks and this also contributes to perception of depth and intensity in the image. Panasonic also told us that the reason that they have removed the front glass on the V10 on the new V20 is because of light reflections. These reflections caused the V20 to mirror light from the surrounding but it also reduced black levels
Below you see the new V20 series:
I also had the opportunity to compare response time on the new models which is particularly interesting because Panasonic has developed a new type of phosphor (on VT20) to enable 3D without crosstalking. Again, I saw an improvement. The 2010 phosphor technology is faster and phosphor trailing is reduced visibly on VT20 . The new Intelligent Frame Creation Pro system also makes movements smoother than on the 2009 models but I have my doubts on IFC (I certainly didn’t like it on the 2008 and 2009 models) and will examine it in our G20 review soon.
Response time on the new Panasonic TVs
The new 2010 models still has plasma noise, though, and I saw no significant improvement over 2009 models. If you move close to the TV you can notice dithering on the 2010 models (because of the colour mixing that plasma TVs use to create some colours).
Power consumption has been reduced.
2010 to the left, 2009 to the right
Panasonic also introduced their new 3DTV VT20. See the presentation in the video below:
And in this video Panasonic is talking about some of the features:
The 3D experience with the VT20 is pretty good and the best I have seen so far on a 3D flat panel TV. I can easily say that I enjoyed the 3D experience on a plasma TV with 3D shutter glasses more than I enjoyed the 3D experience with polarized glasses in the cinemas. Especially the objects in the horizon appear much sharper and the picture has fewer crosstalk issues.
Panasonic VT20 3DTV
The 3D effects in fast paced motion on VT20E is also much better than with the polarized TV systems and projectors.
The objects in the 3D picture closest to the viewer still appear slightly blurred, though, but it’s not critical and the 3D experience is convincing.
VT20E is indeed brown/bronze but just as on G20 the colour is not as evident as some of the press photos suggest. It’s more like a faint tint. The new 65-inch VT20 is huge. See below:
Panasonic 50” VT20 and 65” VT20
Panasonic also had a cool setup on the floor where the new 3D camera was pointed towards two snowboarders. If you placed yourself next to the snowboarders you’d be a part of the 3D recording and was able to see yourself in real 3D if you wore the 3D glasses.
Below you see the new G20 series:
I also examined G20 and my first observation was that the frame on G20 does not have that bluish tint that we saw on the press photos. Sure, the plastic has a faint tint but it’s hard to spot and G20 is mostly black.
The G20 will also be available a silver variant.
G20 silver and black
We also noticed that Panasonic has incorporated several new setting options in the menus, as well as a"day" and"night" setting. Panasonic now also support the ISFccc calibration system with gamma, RGB, etc.
X20 has a slightly different frame compared to the old X10. X20 now has small"dots" that you can see on the picture below.
Below the new S20 series.
And the new X20:
Below you see the new D25 LED series.
And the new D28 LCD TV with LED.
Finally, the new V20 LED series, not to be confused with the plasma range.
Panasonic V20 LCD
The Plasma TVs are not much thinner than we’re used to. Below you see the V20.