Buying guide: Panasonic's 2014 TVs

Improved designs and connectivity, but no award-winning plasma

Panasonic has Samsung and LG in its sights as the company releases 22 televisions this year, of which none are plasma. The new range of televisions — painfully coined “Life+ Screen” — eschew plasma panels for those of the LED-backlit LCD variety, but representatives claim they benefit from “the learnings from its plasma business”.

”By pooling the knowledge of its plasma and LED LCD engineers, Panasonic has been able to produce TVs that combine the brightness of LED with the deep, robust blacks and fast motion response of plasma.” — Panasonic’s official press release

Design focus, mobile friendly

Panasonic's AX800
Panasonic's AX800

Central to the new range is a strong focus on design. Finer bezels frame Panasonic’s televisions across the board. Even the premium AX900 and AX800 make use of a concealed counterweight rather than a traditional stand, which gives the illusion the screen simply rests free-standing on a TV unit.

Many of the new televisions can stream content to mobile devices, including Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Sharing content between Android devices is easily done with support of the wireless Miracast standard.

TVs higher-up in the range have twin-tuners, making it possible to stream content to a mobile device, or to record a program playing on another channel. Recording content can be done remotely from your smartphone, even if your television is powered off.

Content sharing is a key part of the Panasonic home entertainment experience
Content sharing is a key part of the Panasonic home entertainment experience

Plenty of non-UHD content

Read more: Buying guide: LG’s 2014 TV range

Panasonic’s software has been overhauled to include tailored homescreens and new features. Walking past an idle television will cause the bottom of the screen to display information such as weather, time and date, in a feature called ‘info bar’. A feature called ‘my stream’ collates content from free-to-air television, cable and connected storage devices and makes recommendations based on your viewing history.

Top of the range AX900 and AX800 televisions will support UHD’s 3840x2160 resolution. Content supportive of the high-resolution standard remains scarce at present, but representatives hope customers will create their own content or watch UHD videos through services such as YouTube and Box.

Panasonic's application store
Panasonic's application store

Affordable UHD

Representatives said Panasonic will launch an 85in version of its AX900 television in the second half of the year. Samsung, Sony and LG currently offer 84/85-inch UHD televisions. Pricing for the 85in televisions will be announced closer to its release, said Maethem Roomi, Panasonic’s Viera TV product manager.

Headlining Panasonic’s range at present is the 65in UHD AX800. It has a dual-core processor and retails at the competitive price of $5999. Introducing the company’s range is the 24in Full HD A400, which retails for $389.

Panasonic's AS700
Panasonic's AS700

Complementing the Life+ Screen televisions will be a new range of home audio gear, including three soundbars and three Blu-ray disc home theatre systems.

Read more: Viewsonic VX2363SMHL 23in LCD monitor

Pricing and availability

Panasonic AX900 (4K/UHD - Available Q2 2014)
• 85in: TBD
• 65in: TBD

Panasonic AX800 (4K/UHD)
• 65in: $5999
• 58in: $4399

Panasonic AS800 (Full HD)
• 60in: $3299
• 55in: $2799

Panasonic AS740 (Full HD)
• 60in: $2899
• 55in: $2299

Panasonic AS700 (Full HD)
• 60in: $2799
• 55in: $2199
• 50in: $1849
• 42in: $1399

Panasonic AS670 (Full HD)
• 55in: $2199

Panasonic AS640 (Full HD)
• 60in: $2299
• 50in: $1449
• 42in: $1099
• 32in: $659

Panasonic A430 (Full HD)
• 60in: $2199
• 50in: $1349

Panasonic A400 (Full HD)
• 42in: $899
• 32in: $549
• 24in: $389

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Tags Life+ ScreenLEDApplePanasonicAndroidlcdtvplasma

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Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

PC World

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