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Panasonic Boosts VIERA Connect App Trove

November 9, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
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Panasonic is in full-blown expansion mode in adding to the mix of app-based services available through its VIERA Connect IPTVs, the company said during a walkthrough of the system Tuesday featuring demos of some of the newest additions.

The VIERA Connect Market app-basket, according to Merwan Mereby, vice president of interactive content and services, is brimming with about 120 apps at present and should have “double or triple that by the end of next year.”

Panasonic is determined to be ready for 2013, when Mereby said connected-device industry shipments are expected to exceed PC shipments. “The Internet is not for the PC any more,” he said. “TV is the digital hearth and home, the center of entertainment and information.” He added that 90 million households worldwide are already watching connected TV, and that figure is expected to grow to 260 million by 2016.

Mereby said that Panasonic is encouraging a broad swath of app development, and is offering a JavaScript app that enables third-party developers to create apps and make them available on the VIERA Connect platform

The demos came on the heels of Panasonic’s unveiling last week of the new Social TV social network app, which permits users to access Facebook and Twitter at the same time they are watching programming. Additional social networking apps are planned for announcement at the 2012 CES, said Mereby. 

Meanwhile, the currently available social media app was demo’ed by Panasonic senior manager Jordan Shen, who also showed off a 3D car racing game developed exclusively for Panasonic by GameLoft, and playable either with the TV’s remote or a game controller. 

Mereby also said that Panasonic is the first company, via its VIERA Connect Market service, to offer viewers the ability to purchase physical products through their TVs.

Other apps that were highlighted by their developers at the demo included a weather-tracking app from AccuWeather. Jim Candor, chief business officer, digital media, showed off its wide functionality, which ranges well beyond current and coming local weather conditions to provision of weather alerts, radar and satellite maps updated every five minutes, and information about how certain weather conditions affect lifestyles (“Arthritis Day Index,” “Asthma Index,” “Golf Index,” etc.). It can also display a selection of up to six frequently updated videos on demand relating to national weather or weather conditions in other areas of the world.

And Charles Herring, president of the Wealth TV cable channel, showed off the Panasonic app’s capabilities, which for a 99-cents-per-month subscription fee, serves up an “all you can eat” menu of ”vicarious living” programming on fancy cars, culinary delights, history, art and music.  Subscribers on Nov. 5 were treated to a four-fight card from a Don King-produced WBA World Championship event.
 

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