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Panasonic Releases First Smart TVs Running Firefox OS

The Firefox OS from Mozilla has been out for some time now, but today Firefox OS is landing in a new market for the first time. It's coming to Smart TVs, starting with six models in Panasonic's VIERA line.

The first of these TVs have shipped to Europe and should be available through retailers soon, but at this moment the specs and details are unknown. Though six models have been announced, the model number varies by country, and potential customers shouldn't anticipate seeing more than one or two models available in their country in the near future.

The six models available in the Panasonic 2015 smart TV line up are the CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700 and CX680.

These TVs have been in development for a long time now. Mozilla and Panasonic first started this partnership to develop Firefox OS-based smart TVs back in January 2014.

During CES this year, Panasonic was showing off prototypes of these TVs. Though some of the specs might have changed during development, it is likely these displays will be 4K units just like the prototypes.

"Through our partnership with Mozilla and the openness and flexibility of Firefox OS, we have been able to create a more user friendly and customizable TV UI. This allows us to provide a better user experience for our consumers providing a differentiator in the Smart TV market," said Masahiro Shinada, Director of the TV Business Division at Panasonic Corporation.

One of the design goals for these Firefox OS Smart TVs was to be highly optimized for HTML5 in order to achieve higher performance with web-based applications and services. In addition, Panasonic and Mozilla claim that using Firefox OS allows for a more intuitive and customized design relative to other smart TVs. In addition, most Firefox OS applications are Web-based and don't need to be stored on the device itself. This could help cut costs slightly by reducing the size of the storage device.

Panasonic hopes that this performance coupled with the more unique experience will set its smart TVs apart. Though the market for Firefox OS-based smart TVs is just now being started by Panasonic, if sales of these displays are successful, the smart TV market will enjoy a strong competitor to the likes of Samsung (Tizen OS) and LG (WebOS).

Firefox OS is an open platform, so other companies should be able to easily develop smart TV solutions with Firefox OS and enter the market, but Panasonic will have an initial advantage here. Panasonic plans to sell these TVs worldwide, but currently only the European models are being shipped.

The price of these TVs and when they will reach other parts of the world is currently unknown.

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  • gggplaya
    I would like a TV with windows built in where i can use HTPC applications natively and play 1080p and maybe 4k files. Intel has the computestick for $150, i'd gladly pay the added cost for this functionality.
    Reply
  • airborn824
    I am not upgrading to a new TV until my Panasonic VT25 plasma dies.. Should be a long long time. (cross fingers) Until something finally is better than Panasonic Plasma's in picture i will not be impressed by extras.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    @airborn824, considering the strides OLED has made that should be another year or maybe two before your VT25's PQ is surpassed. I would say this year it already has been surpassed but LG's OLED's have a few kinks still.

    The Panasonic CX800 and CX850 are FALD and HDR ready so they might not be to bad in picture quality. I'm eyeballing them for my living room since(lots of light).
    Reply
  • airborn824
    15866435 said:
    @airborn824, considering the strides OLED has made that should be another year or maybe two before your VT25's PQ is surpassed. I would say this year it already has been surpassed but LG's OLED's have a few kinks still.

    The Panasonic CX800 and CX850 are FALD and HDR ready so they might not be to bad in picture quality. I'm eyeballing them for my living room since(lots of light).

    Working around TVs for 3 years i was not and am not impressed by OLED. WHile yes they are better then LED-LCD and CCFL-LCD, that does not say much. IGZO from Sharp may be close but who is gonna pay for that? Plasma is still to this day the best TV technology yet produced, and while it is big and ugly when it is off. My tv is still better then $10k Sony X950 in motion and color. The THX cert is great.
    Reply
  • rluker5
    I would like a TV with windows built in where i can use HTPC applications natively and play 1080p and maybe 4k files. Intel has the computestick for $150, i'd gladly pay the added cost for this functionality.
    Have you thought about the Surface?
    I use a Toshiba Encore as an HTPC and it works great and doesn't have the ram bandwith halved like the computestick. Bluray will cost extra though - $80 for an external player and $40 for the software - unless W10 gives out that for free too.
    Make sure it has HDMI out - most tablets don't and over air mirroring is bad.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    "This could help cut costs slightly by reducing the size of the storage device."

    It might cut production costs, but it will not affect end-user pricing. As always, these TVs will be priced based on whatever the market is able to bare in each locale.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • arrianna
    Great article. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Panasonic Smart TV by using UnoTelly or similar tools.
    Reply