OPINION: Normally when a TV producer launches its newest spherical of TVs, the interface it’s a one-size suits all answer throughout all their fashions.
LG pushes its bespoke webOS interface; Samsung needs to rock you with its Tizen proposition and Sony has gone carried out the trail of Google TV (with a couple of of its personal customisations).
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Interfaces have develop into a key differentiator in promoting the general TV expertise to the client as a result of they’re the primary means by which viewers interact with the TV. A clunky, cryptic, busy interface can put clients off. Samsung’s Tizen is crammed stuffed with options however regardless of makes an attempt to place the consumer on the centre of the expertise, it’s arguably develop into extra sophisticated and extra arduous to navigate in recent times.
Panasonic’s my HomeScreen interface may by no means be accused of being clunky, cryptic, or busy – it’s an extremely easy interface to make use of – however it’s additionally by no means been the glitziest affair, probably the most featured or ‘fashionable’.
At its 2023 TV launch held in Berlin, Panasonic has seen the sunshine (or at the very least a distinct gentle from others) and determined to not slather all its TVs with the identical interface, however to supply clients alternative with an expansion of assist.
The highest-range OLEDs and LED fashions nonetheless make the most of my HomeScreen (now in its 8th version), however from the MZ800 OLED down, the view modifications. For sure fashions, UK clients get entry to Android TV (Europe will get Google TV), whereas the MX800 is, in stunning information, a Hearth TV mannequin.
Positive, there’s a level of confusion that may include these decisions (why this interface and never that one and so on), however there’s additionally simplicity too. It’s not a shock the extra inexpensive, mass-market fashions get the favored good OSes in Android and Hearth TV, whereas on Panasonic’s premium TVs, it seeks to current its most built-in (and nonetheless easy) expertise.
It makes promoting the story of those Panasonic TVs to a buyer simpler, particularly in the event that they’re already acquainted with Android/Hearth TV – should you like or are used to Android TVs, right here’s a mannequin for you. There’s no adjustment interval; you keep it up the place you left off.
It’s a sensible alternative as a result of not each buyer is similar; all of us have totally different wants, pursuits, and causes for a TV buy. Not everybody is worried with having the very best image or sound high quality from a TV. They merely wish to watch one thing and have that course of made simple, not tougher.
It’s a extra thoughtful method, one that may decrease the barrier of entry which is what Panasonic wants proper now. For the reason that heydays of Plasma, it’s fallen behind rising TV manufacturers similar to TCL and Hisense whereas Samsung and LG have elevated their lead regardless of Panasonic arguably providing image and sound high quality than both.
A extra mass-market method moderately than a siloed one is, I’d hope, one which’ll improve its presence and get clients to note their providing. It had felt in the previous couple of years that Panasonic was being too selective in the place it offered its TVs, happening the trail of retailer exclusives with John Lewis & Companions as if it have been attempting to draw a sure kind of purchaser, one who would pay a premium.
As a substitute, a lot of the motion came about on websites like Amazon UK, Currys and AO. Each the Hearth TV and Android fashions ought to (I think) take pleasure in a wider presence on these websites after they launch, which might put the likes of the MZ800 and MZ700 OLEDs in gross sales frenzy mosh pit come Black Friday time.
Given they have been rumours that maybe Panasonic hadn’t had the identical stage of engagement within the TV market, this new vary reveals that they’re prepared to push ahead and claw again territory misplaced to different manufacturers.
However make no mistake, if we’re not at a make-or-break second, we’re on the sting of 1. Panasonic has at all times been among the best when it comes to image high quality, and it’s about time it made it simpler for patrons to see that.