Panasonic says Japanese TV stations are refusing to air commercials for its new “smart” television, apparently because they feel threatened by its combined TV-Internet function.
Private broadcasters, in a rare case of turning down a major advertiser, have said they will not show commercials for the product, claiming the split screen simultaneously showing broadcast content and Web pages may confuse viewers, according to reports.
“IPTV, or smart television, is a new area of service, and we are in talks to create new rules for broadcasting,” Panasonic said Monday in a statement. “We refrain from making further comments.”
Web users who have seen the commercial on YouTube lashed out at broadcasters for an apparently quixotic attempt to protect their medium from competition.
“Terrestrial broadcasting is finished because it has failed to keep up with the trend,” said one YouTube comment. “Forget it. We live in the time of the Internet.”
“LG, Samsung have already released similar televisions a long time ago, but they cannot bring them to Japan,” said another posting referring to Panasonic’s South Korean rivals.
Japan has a lively and competitive broadcast scene and a thriving Internet culture.
However, despite a reputation for innovative wizardry, Japan is sometimes slow to adopt new forms of technology into mainstream use. Some major companies are criticized for not keeping up with changes in modes of consumption.
Rules on political campaigning that had banned the use of the Internet have only recently been relaxed ahead of the July 21 Upper House election.
Panasonic 4K debut
Panasonic Corp. is considering launching high-definition liquid crystal display televisions using “4K” technology in Japan and Europe this fall, company sources said Tuesday.
The move is likely to intensify international competition in the TV market, where Toshiba Corp. and Sharp Corp. and South Korean companies have already launched products with the same technology that delivers four times finer image quality than the current high-definition resolution.
Panasonic’s proposed 4K TV will come in sizes of 50 inches or more, with the price yet to be decided, the sources said, adding the TV is also expected be capable of displaying content from the Internet.
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and the broadcasting industry plan to begin next-generation 4K broadcasting in 2014 in time for the soccer World Cup in Brazil.