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Panasonic's new smart TVs include enhanced wide view technology, photo editing

Panasonic's new HDTV lineup will offer photo editing and other features you may not expect to see in a TV.

Panasonic readily admits that these are challenging times for the consumer electronics industry. Its answer: An updated HDTV lineup that focuses on a richer, more convenient user experience.

Which is to say, pushing really, really hard on the whole Smart TV idea.

The company plans 32 new Viera TVs for 2013, split evenly between plasma (Viera ZT60, VT60, ST60, and S60 Series) and LED LCD (Viera WT60, DT60, ET60, and E60 Series) models, and topping out at 65 inches.

Leading the way in the new features is a personalization function called My Home Screen. It lets each member of the family create a custom start page to quickly access their preferred content. Select models with built-in cameras can even identify the watcher and display the proper home screen accordingly.

An updated Swipe & Share 2.0 feature lets you transfer pictures and video wirelessly from an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet to the TV using Panasonic's Viera Connect technology.

Some models support a touch pen that you can use to edit photos on the TV (although I'm not sure why you'd want to), and guests viewing the content on your TV can even download the results to their own devices. Some models also support voice capabilities, both to search for content using a Smart Viera Touch Pad Controller or your smartphone, and as an accessibility text-to-speech feature to read TV text out loud.

Panasonic also showed off the results of partnerships with YouTube and HSN (Home Shopping Network), the former to wirelessly display and control YouTube content from your mobile device, the latter to easily access HSN shopping information through a rich user interface.

Although Panasonic's focus seems to be in continuing to carve out a space in the smart TV market (a questionable strategy to me, as it feels like forcing TVs to do things people might not want from them) new models also boast enhanced IPS Panel technology for a wide viewing angle without quality loss, improved energy efficiency, better contrast ratio, and more.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out our complete coverage of CES 2013.


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