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CES 2013: Panasonic, The Comeback Kid

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 10/01/2013

"Most of you may think of Panasonic as only a television manufacturer," Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said during the CES 2013 keynote speech in Vegas, yesterday.

But "our future is being built on far more than one single product" says the giant's new CEO and President, who is hoping to revitalize Pana after a bad run.

 In his keynote, Tsuga spoke of Panasonic's plan to spread its wings beyond the living room, alluding to home energy solutions, car and in-flight connectivity and infotainment services.

The declaration from Panasonic's new boss, in the job just six month, comes after the giant has suffered major financial losses over consecutive quarters and reported a $7.8 billion quarterly loss in November. Tsuga supervised restructuring of Panasonic's TV division before becoming President, and a downcast Tsuga previously spoke of "how damaged our current situation is," due to the major losses it was making in its struggling TV business, in particular.

Pictured: Tsuga with his 4K baby. Image: Digital Trends.
But now it is safe to say Panasonic, has wooed the crowd at CES this week, launching: 56" Ultra HD TV with an OLED panel (the 'world's first' says its CEO), High Efficient LED TVs that reduce power consumption by 15%, a massive 20" UHD tablet on Windows 8, a new Smart TV Interface, a content deal with YouTube TV, new Blu-rays and home theatre kits, bone conduction wireless headphones and camcorders with built in Wi-Fi (for real-time broadcasting over the Web). Phew.

Ultra HD, (otherwise known as 4k) is four times (3840 x 2560) the resolution of a traditional HD telly and appears to be The Next Big Thing with TCL, LG and Sony also unveiling UHD TVs at CES.

But Panasonic may have the edge with OLED + UHD formula, meaning probably the best and brightest display quality of all UHDs available.

The "next five years will transform the TV more than the last 25 years," Tsuga also told the audience at CES 2013, a transformation the Japanese giant clearly wants to be at the forefront of, while looking to new horizons.

 Pana's 20" UHD windows 8 tab, pictured above, was also a major wow factor at Panasonic's CES stand and has a realistic "paper-like feel" as it replicates the traditional newspaper or magazine. It's also portable - weighs 2.4 kg and 0.4 inch thick.

"This tablet embodies the characteristics of printed media that existing personal or tablet computers cannot provide, such as texture rich rendering, natural hand-writing and a light weight and thinness for easy mobility," says its maker. 

SmartHouse's guy at CES said he was majorly impressed with some of Pana's new devices including the 20" tablet, which was described as "stunning" and "looking like a mini all-in-one, the size really works"

We'll have more from Panasonic at CES in the coming days.

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