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CES 2013: Panasonic shows off new smart TV features

Panasonic’s CES press conference was a slightly subdued affair, but that’s not really surprising considering that company President, Mr Kazuhiro Tsuga, is presenting the opening keynote for CES 2013 tomorrow. With that in mind, the company is probably holding back some juicy announcements until the morning.

That said, Panasonic did announce some interesting updates to its smart TV range. Most notable was the new Home Screen feature, which allows TV users to customise the way content is presented.

Multiple profiles can be set, so each member of a family can have their own home screen, with the media that they prefer made prominent. The system even offers facial recognition courtesy of Panasonic’s TV webcam, so the correct home screen can be presented without the user even having to select it.

There was no mention as to how the TV would cope if multiple people were sitting in front of it and they all had their own Home Screen profiles, but I imagine it will revert to the traditional model of whoever has the remote control, or the remote app running.

Talking of apps, Panasonic also showed off the second generation of its SwipeShare feature, which allows users to swipe pictures and videos from their smartphone or tablet direct to the TV. With version 2.0, pictures can be swiped to the TV and then edited using a stylus.

Panasonic showed off a basic image editing application on the TV, where colours and brush types can be selected for editing or enhancing. Once the picture has been edited, it can then be sent back to the mobile device and shared.

It’s certainly interesting technology, but I can’t help but wonder why you wouldn’t simply edit the photo on your tablet in the first place, rather than send it to your TV and do it there. It would, however, lend itself better to collaborative image editing of course.

Panasonic announced that there will be a total of 32 new TVs launched in 2013 – 16 plasma and 16 LED. Of course the models announced at CES will be different from those in the UK – the UK line-up will be unveiled at Panasonic’s European product showcase in Nice next month.

Riyad has been entrenched in technology publishing for more years than he cares to remember, having staffed and edited some of the largest and most successful IT magazines in the UK. In 2003 he joined forces with Hugh Chappell to create They built TR into the UK’s market leading technology publication before selling the title to IPC Media / Time Warner in 2007. As Editorial Director at Net Communities, Riyad will be helping to develop the publishing portfolio, making IT Pro Portal the best publication it can be.