LUNCHES & LAUNCHES SPECIAL – 2013 PANASONIC ROADSHOW – PART 1
PANASONIC’S NEW SLOGAN is ‘The Edge Ahead’, whatever that means.
Thankfully, the gear itself is self-explanatory, and in this year’s lineup there’s a real variety, from the expected advances in Panasonic specialties like plasma TVs through to eccentric new products like the offputtingly-named bone conductor headphones.
Various product managers took us through what was new in their area, starting with Reagan Parkes (Audio/Blu-ray), who noted that with the last patch of NZ about to go fully digital in November of this year (the upper north island, to be exact), Panasonic’s combo DVD and Blu-ray/two-tuner recorders are proving hugely popular.
The premium DMR-BWT835 had several advantages over typical set top boxes, including the ability to record straight to Blu-ray disc from its internal Freeview player, and it was also possible to partake of multi-room streaming of live broadcasts from the tuner in the lounge to other TVs in the house. Obviously, this recorder/player has immense appeal to those who rebel against the huge ongoing cost of Sky.
Reagan also took us through the technology that allows the viewer to share content straight from your smart phone to TV (but only if you happen to have Android 4.2).
The roundup of four new Blu-ray players included information about the handy double USB points, which allows content sharing. The premium Blu-ray players are feature-packed, but one key feature is the ability to upscale to the new TV standard, 4K. Only if you actually have a 4K TV, of course!
Panasonic’s home theatre range still caters for the ‘HT-in-a-box’ crowd, but they have boosted power ratings, and added 3D sound, claiming 25 “virtual” speakers added to the 5.1 configurations. There are also two sound bars in the range, with wireless ‘subs’.
Jumping on the trend for streaming music, there’s a Panasonic app that allows all Panasonic speakers around a house to connect; an echo of what Sonos has been doing for years. These are compatible with Airplay, Bluetooth and DLNA.
Bluetooth, said Reagan, was being used in more Panasonic devices to meet the growing Android market.
Micro-systems, anyone? The new ones boast Apple Lightning docks so owners of iPhone 5 can connect without using the USB connection, but Panasonic is still selling systems with regular docks as well.
One of the more curious devices was a Bluetooth Tablet Home Theatre – essentially a dock for a table to sit in, which also boasts a ‘subwoofer’, NFC (near field communication) included.
But far away the strangest concept was the bone conduction headphones, due out in six or seven months. These wrap around the jaw and literally tape into the bone for sound conduction, making the music vibrations reach places beyond normal hearing. Fascinating, if a bit scary.
Last and definitely not least in this category was the Max 700 stereo, with 2300 watts of mind melting power. Essentially, it’s an ENORMOUS mini-system: “Four way extra-large speakers in a new Prism Colour Illumination design which glows different LED lights in sync with the music.
“This model produces unparalleled power and sound clarity for music lovers.
“Featuring nano-sized bamboo cone speakers to create audio with clearer vocals and crisper dialogue, the MAX 700 utilises Direct-Vocal Surround to expand sound throughout a listening environment to mimic a concert hall.”
It has an internal memory of up to 1000 songs, double USB ports, and USB recording. Gee whizz. GARY STEEL