LAS VEGAS – Parents can stop telling their kids to stop touching the TV screen. Panasonic today (Jan. 7) debuted a big electronic touch pen made for drawing right on the screen of its new line of Viera plasma smart TVs. The pen was shown as a way to edit photos that have been sent from a user's smartphone or tablet to the TV, but families may find lots of fun uses for this innovative accessory.
The photo-editing app is part of Panasonic's smart TV system that now includes My Home Screen, a main screen on the TV that can be customized to each family member to s how their preferred content and apps. The TVs uses facial recognition to determine who's watching and automatically launches the matching home page.
Panasonic has also added voice control, which it described as an accessibility feature for older folks, but could be useful for families with young children as well. Children who can't yet read won't be stumped by words on the screen — they can simply say what they want to watch. Kids can use the remote control or the family iPad (or whatever iOS or Android device designated for family use) with the SmartViera app.
Photos and videos from mobile devices can be transferred with a swipe to the big screen, edited and embellished with the touch pen. At the Panasonic demo, the pen was used to scrawl a big red "Hello Rio!" across a family vacation photo, but it's easy to imagine lively games of Pictionary and Hangman on the big screen. When drawing is complete, the same swiping motion can be used to send the embellished photos back to phones and tablets. Using the app, family and friends can also swipe to get a copy on their own devices.
Panasonic's new plasma TVs are available in sizes ranging from 42 inches to 65 inches and will be available beginning in February 2013.