Does having a personalized home screen on your TV for every family member sound appealing? Panasonic hopes so, as its lineup of 2013 smart TVs come with My Home Screen, which provides quick access to the content used by each member of the house, who each get a separate, customized home page.
At its CES press conference, the company also announced a new e-commerce partnership with Home Shopping Network (HSN). HSN becomes part of Panasonic's Viera Connect suite of online services and lets customers access the TV shopping network directly from the TV. You'll be able create your own on-demand channels by product category and get product details, customer reviews, and videos, and even make purchases from within the app.
The company—one of the few major brands at CES that hasn't shown or announced an Ultra HD TV—did announce 16 new TVs, split evenly between plasmas and LCD TVs, in screen sizes ranging from 42 to 65 inches. Three series of Smart Viera models—ZT60, VT60, and ST60 sets—also feature the second generation of its Swipe and Share technology, which lets you send photos and videos to the TV from a portable device just by swiping a finger across the screen, then move it back to the TV in the same fashion.
The higher-end ZT60 and VT60 get dual-core processors, plus voice guidance, a text-to-speech technology, and voice interaction, which lets you use voice search by speaking in the touchpad remote or a smart phone (app required). For the first time, some models, including the VT60, have a built-in webcam and face-recognition technology, which can be used to call up each person's home screen, as well as for Skype.
Last year, many of us picked the Panasonic VT50-series TVs as our favorite 2012 model. We're looking forward to getting Panasonic's 2013 sets into our labs for testing.
Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.
—James K. Willcox