Panasonic Adds Twitter To Viera Cast HDTVs

Jonathan Sutton

A recent report from Ofcom, the media regulator in the United Kingdom, revealed that on average Britons spend nearly half of their time awake indulging in various media and communications activities such as watching television, browsing the internet, listening to the radio or using their mobile phones, sometimes even using several devices simultaneously, prompting the new catchphrase “media multi-tasking”.

The popularity of social media websites like Facebook, and an increase in mobile internet and smartphone usage are seen as key to this trend, which is why more and more TV makers including Sony, LG and Samsung are scrambling to incorporate social media tools on their internet-enabled HDTVs, not only as an extra feature to sell more units, but also to engage owners interactively on more levels. This week, Panasonic – one of the most renowned TV brands in the world – announced the addition of Twitter functionality to their Viera Cast platform on their flat-screen HDTV sets.

Twittering capability on Viera high-definition TVs was something that Panasonic had been brewing since the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in the beginning of this year, and is the latest in a long line of features (for example Skype, Youtube, Google Picasa album, Bloomberg, weather updates and others) to grace the company’s proprietary Viera Cast IPTV service.

Twitter is one of the fastest-growing social networking tool over the last few years. Essentially a microblogging service, Twitter users can send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters – dubbed “tweets” – in near real-time. Since its launch in 2006, Twitter use has exploded phenomenally, with up to 70 million tweets posted every day, and numerous celebrities like Stephen Fry and Britney Spears among its regular users.

Merwan Mereby, Vice President of New Business Development at Panasonic, said that the introduction of Twitter capability on Viera Cast HDTVs allow users to interact with friends and family all around the world, all from the comfort of their seats without needing to access a separate device. Twitter functionality has been activated on the Panasonic G20, G25, VT20 and VT25 series in North America initially, with UK and European sets to follow shortly.