Panasonic Activates Connected TV Apps

--By Steve Donohue

While Panasonic is activating apps for its line of connected TVs that allow viewers to track baseball and basketball scores, the CE manufacturer isn't yet offering any full-length games or access to sports TV subscription packages such MLB Extra Innings.

Panasonic took the wraps of its Viera Connect IPTV platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, offering viewers that buy Viera HDTVs access to several applications, including Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, YouTube, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. This week it launched Major League Baseball's MLB.TV app and NBA Game Time, which allow viewers with connected TVs to check out game highlights and scores.

Its connected TV platform could help Panasonic drive HDTV sales and differentiate the company from Sony and other rivals. But without access to premium subscription sports packages such as NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings and NFL Sunday Ticket, it will be difficult for Panasonic to position the Viera platform as a primary home entertainment solution for pay TV subscribers that are big sports fans.

Panasonic is looking to generate buzz for Viera Connect through a 15-city mall tour that it kicked off this week, with plans to hold "Experience Amazing" events in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major markets. It also plans to launch apps for hockey and soccer fans. More.

North America