Plasma State of the Union
We weren’t the only ones holding our collective breathes for a last minute surprise from Panasonic on press day for CES 2014. Sadly, none manifested itself in the form of a “Hail Mary” plasma technology play. We went eyes-on with the updates to their Studio Master Drive technology and can vouch for the visual similarities to their pièce de résistance, the ZT60, but the new 4k set still didn’t beat out last year’s plasma. While it’s nice to see LED approaching the quality of plasma in terms of blacks and motion processing, the plasma model was lower resolution, and multiple thousands of dollars cheaper than what we anticipate the price of the 4k display.
Panasonic took an opportunity at CES 2014 to update the suite of Smart TV applications their sets will ship with in 2014. This Life+Screen initiative looks to blend aspects of custom content with a more seamless application integration experience. Panasonic says the combination of facial recognition, personalized voice control, and data mining on viewing habits with the likes of YouTube, Netflix, etc. will provide a customized viewing experience and recommendations for individuals.
A couple of us imagined gaming on some of the gorgeous 4K displays throughout CES. Panasonic offered us the chance with the unreleased Project CARS game on a massive 85″ 4K 60 rig. Our own @JoshPollard took it out for a spin and agreed it looked awesome. 4K is one of those areas that will benefit gaming even more then typical TV viewing which most content distributors will struggle to take advantage of for the foreseeable future.
Panasonic Toughing it out…
None of Panasonic’s products stand out in an already crowded landscape, save their line of hardened PC’s and tablets. Too bad these devices are priced out of the realm of sanity for what they include. Unless an industry specific need with deep pockets warrants the expenditure there are better middle of the road solutions that have a better mix of ruggedness and price.
-Josh Pollard contributed to this article.