CES 2011: Panasonic TVs get a streaming game service

Panasonic is getting its game on. The electronics giant has struck a deal with Oberon Media to carry that company’s I-play TV in all 2011 Vierra Connect HDTVs. Iplay-panasonic

It’s a big opportunity for the casual gaming service, which is also announcing today that it has locked up the Smart TV rights to “Tetris”. New Internet-enabled sets from one of the industry’s leading manufacturers will now feature its top franchises, which also include “Dream Day Wedding” and “Bubble Town” – along with casual standards such as “Solitaire” and “Texas Hold’em”.

The service will be featured prominently on Vierra sets, alongside other existing offerings, such as Netflix, Amazon on Demand and Hulu – which will also be announced for the sets today. The service will go live to the public later this year.

“VIERA Connect is taking connected TV to a whole new level of interactivity for consumers to deliver an unprecedented, more robust, two-way interactive set of features,” said Merwan Mereby, vice president of Panasonic Corporation of North America.

It’s an announcement that likely won’t cause a lot of initial nervousness among game console manufacturers, but one they definitely shouldn’t ignore. Game streaming through television sets is one of the biggest threats to traditional gaming devices – as it vastly expands the installed base for those services, giving consumers an option that saves them hundreds of dollars from the beginning.

Just yesterday, of course, OnLive announced a similar deal with Vizio.