During CES in Las Vegas this week, Panasonic refreshed its Viera Cast streaming media service that should have a more significant role in 2011. The Viera Cast service has now been rebranded as Viera Connect, and features the Viera Connect Marketplace online store that includes downloads and games.
Panasonic hopes the demand for IPTV continues as consumers begin to test these streaming services on a more frequent basis. The addition of CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Ustream offers popular apps and programs for users to enjoy while watching TV.
Viera Connect also allows users to stream video, play video games, and use their favorite programs and services, including Twitter, Facebook and Skype. The NHL and MLB will also provide highlights and video clips through the new service, with professional sports leagues also trying to expand their reach.
Of note, the Gameloft streaming games service now bundled into Panasonic HDTVs includes multiplayer support — with Asphalt 5 serving as the first title release. Additional game title announcements and release information should be made available at a later date.
“The shape of entertainment is changing as technology evolves,” noted Michel Guillemot, gameloft President, in a press statement. “Our partnership with Panasonic exemplifies how two forward thinking companies can meld the future of videogaming with the future of connected television.”
The Japanese electronics compahy also is working with other partners to include customized features in the living room. For example, Panasonic will connect the Withings WiFi Body Scale with Panasonic HDTVs, even though only a small number of users have a Panasonic HDTV and a Withings WiFi Body Scale.
The addition of streaming content and widgets has forced HDTV manufacturers to work with new partners helping revolutionize the industry. Panasonic will look to bring appealing partners onboard, and must stay vigilant as the IPTV industry changes.