The Dragon TV platform from Nuance Communications is a standard feature on 2013 models of Panasonic's Smart Viera Internet-connected television sets. With Dragon TV, viewers can use voice commands to change channels, look for video content, search the Web and other functions. Meanwhile, Panasonic's ZT60 plasma TV may be the last in that line, as the company acknowledged that it is discussing the future of its plasma TV business. The NPD Group estimates that worldwide shipments of plasma TVs dropped 21% last year, compared with 2011.
Panasonic's 2012 models in the Viera television line will feature voice guidance, enabling viewers to change channels, look at listings, alter the volume and record programs without a remote control. The company has announced availability and pricing for new Smart Viera LCD and plasma TVs.
In a wide-ranging event Tuesday in New York, Panasonic took the wraps off its latest lines of 3D plasma TVs, LED LCDs, LCDs, 3D Blu-ray players and audio equipment. Among the highlights: The company this spring or summer will introduce 3D plasma TV sets with "Neo Plasma" technology, which, according to this report, is an upgrade of Panasonic's Neo PDP system.
Panasonic issued a statement saying that the black levels of its plasma TVs diminish over time, but that newer models will have "a more gradual change" as the sets age. The company's statement was in response to consumer complaints related to a loss of black level performance during the life span of Panasonic plasma TVs.