Gadgets

Panasonic launches 56-inch OLED 4K TV, but pushes deeper into software

If hardware manufacturers are to survive, they can’t just keep pumping out hardware, Panasonic chief executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said in a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today.

“We are expanding our role from a hardware manufacturer to a total solutions provider,” he said.

Having said that, he promptly introduced a new 4K OLED TV. The TV is a half-inch thick and 56 inches diagonally. That’s a pretty big achievement, but it won’t fly off the shelves unless there is content to support it.

Panasonic’s approach to organizing home video involves creating profiles for each family member. When you sit down and login, the TV shows the channels that are relevant to you.

Panasonic believes a next-generation TV experience is more personal. And in a world flooded with content, discovery of what is important to you is a priority. That problem has popped up for those perusing app stores, which have hundreds of thousands of apps, and it will happen soon on TVs as well.

Tim Vanderhook, CEO of Specific Media, spoke on stage about a partnership with Panasonic to create an enhanced viewing experience. Specific Media uses your history of rating shows and liking content to make recommendations to you within a menu. A heat map (or darker color) shows which shows are highly recommended to you.

A few more key areas Panasonic said it is focusing on: It’s working with IBM to bring cloud computing to managing connected devices in smarter, greener homes. It’s also working to push forward the electric car market, making batteries for a variety of electric cars, like the Tesla S, and applying its energy-saving know-how to that industry.