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Published: 2014-01-07 - 14:40:38
Home Theater : News and Show Reports

Panasonic Introduces 4K, LED and LCD TV Lineup for 2014

By Rachel Cericola

Vegas is full of TVs right now -- and not just in the sportsbook. CES 2014 is in full swing, with manufacturers announcing many of the TV models planned for the New Year.

Panasonic is the latest company to unveil its 2014 TV lineup. Just yesterday, we were talking up the company's new Life+Screen platform, which promises to give a boost to the Smart TV genre via tons of personalization. (Read more about those goodies in "Panasonic Smartens Up New TVs with Life+Screen Platform.") Panasonic has said that those new features will be available in the AX800 Series (4K), the AS680 Series (1080p), the AS650 Series (1080p), the AS640 Series (1080p), and the AS530 Series (1080p). Now, let's take a closer peek at each of these new models.

At the top of the heap is the AX800 Series, Panasonic's only new 4K release for the year (so far, anyway). This line will include the 58-inch TC-58AX800U and the 65-inch TC-65AX800U.

Each of these models has a 3840 x 2160 resolution, as well as Studio Master Color color reproduction, Local Dimming Pro backlighting, and the 4K Fine Remaster Engine image processor. Panasonic says that each model will also have THX in 4K Ultra HD, although that announcement was tentative at press time.

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The AX8000 Series has a 3840 x 2160 resolution for 58- and 65-inch screen sizes.

Other AX800 features include a built-in camera for face recognition and a Remote Sharing option for sharing video memos, messages, and other info. Both models also have a 4K 60p single-wire input based on the HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2a specifications, as well as support for HDCP 2.2-compliant content and H.265 (HEVC).

Panasonic has yet to announce pricing for either model. However, the 58-incher should be available for pre-order shortly.

As far as 1080p HDTVs, Panasonic will have a total of four LED lines with Life+Screen features, in screen sizes ranging from 39 to 60 inches. All four are expected to debut this spring.

While some of you may feel the absence of Panasonic's plasma TVs, the company was promising "plasma picture quality from LED TVs" when they introduced this line at CES. Each one will include full 1080p HD images and Backlight Scanning Technology for blur-free action.

The AS680 Series will have a lone 55-incher with all of the Life+Screen perks, as well as a 240Hz refresh rate. Other features include Swipe & Share, built-in Wi-Fi, the HEXA-processing engine, and Panasonic's Touch Pad remote.

Panasonic's AS650 Series is almost identical to the above 680, but has 1500 backlight scanning and 3D viewing options. Those features will be available in three screen sizes: the 50-inch TC-50AS650U, the 55-inch TC-55AS650U, and the 60-inch TC-60AS650U.

The AS640 Series also has just one model, for now. The 60-inch TC-60AS640U will come with a "home theater bundle" -- although Panasonic hasn't detailed what that will include. Other features include built-in Wi-Fi, 240 Backlight Blinking, a media player, the HEXA-processing engine, and the Touch Pad remote.

The last of the Life+Screen models will fall under the AS530 Series. This lineup includes the 39-inch TC-39AS530U, the 50-inch TC-50AS530U, the 55-inch TC-55AS530U, and the 60-inch TC-60AS530U. This collection has sort of a basic version of the Life+Screen option, offering the my Home Screen, Remote Sharing, Swipe & Share, apps, a media player, voice recognition, and built-in Wi-Fi. It also has DLNA support, 240 Backlight Blinking, and a narrow bezel. It's worth nothing that these sets don't have the HEXA engine or the Touch Pad remote.

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The AS680 Series has Life+Screen perks, a 1080p image, and a 240Hz refresh rate.

Panasonic will also offer three non-Life+Screen models this year, under its VIERA A400 Series. The 32-inch TC-32A400U, the 39-inch TC-39A400U, and the 50-inch TC-50A400U don't have Life+Screen functions, but do have HDMI inputs, USB ports, a media player, V-Audio, and 120 Backlight Blinking.

Prices and availability have yet to be announced for any of the above TVs, but the entire AS650 Series is expected to be available for pre-order soon.

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