Panasonic Announces 58-Inch Plasma TVs

Panasonic has announced it will be adding two 58-inch models to its line of plasma TVs. The TH-58PX600U and TH-58PX60U will both offer 1,366 by 768 resolution, a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, the capability to display up to 29 billion colors (with 3072 shades of gradation), dual HDMI inputs with Panasonic’s EZ-Sync HDAVI control function, an integrated SD memory slot for viewing slide shows, built-in NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuners, and (on the TH-58PX600U) a BBE Viva HD3D four-speaker sound system. The units are set to ship in “early summer”—which we take to mean “around June, 2006″—and they won’t be cheap: suggested pricing for the TH-58PX60U will be $5,499, with the TH-58PX600U priced at $5,999.

At those prices, it’s hard to see how Panasonic feels TVs like these are part of the “general public’s market” rather than the technically literate and idly filthy rich, but Panasonic has been trying to make the ramp-up experience for new technologies as painless as possible.

“Take our new EZ-Sync. At first glance, it might look like just another so-called universal remote. But universal remotes are really not ‘universal’ at all. What they do is combine a bunch of incompatible controllers into one case. Playing a DVD with a DTS soundtrack with a universal remote requires pushing just as many buttons as using three separate remotes,” said Andrew Nelkin, Vice President of Panasonic’s Display Group. “With EZ-Sync, you press one button and the TV turns on, the DVD player turns on, and the home theater surround sound system turns on and automatically selects the right inputs and settings to use for the DVD.”

The more-expensive TH-58PX600U will also include a TV Guide Program, PC input, and a CableCard slot.   Click hereto Digg this story!