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Panasonic, MySpace team for TV experiment

MySpace investor Timberlake spoke at CES press conference

Panasonic is teaming with MySpace for the rollout of the social network’s new social TV experiment.

MySpace TV will be the crown jewel of Panasonic’s collection of TV apps, letting people chat with friends as they watch programming and see what’s trending among their social circles.

“We’re giving you the opportunity to connect your friends to your moments as they’re actually happening,” said MySpace investor, singer and actor Justin Timberlake, who made a surprise appearance at the Panasonic CES press conference. “This is the evolution of one of our greatest inventions — the television. And now you no longer have to crowd around the same one.”

The reinvention of MySpace will not be centered around user-generated content. Timberlake and MySpace CEO Tim Vanderhook emphasized this is a new layer being added to existing programming on any channel.

“MySpace TV is an over-the-top social television service that brings a new dimension to the TV experience you’re used to today,” Vanderhook said.

The company also announced plans to add a Miramax application to its Viera lineup, letting people watch films from the studio’s catalog without going through a pay streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu.

“We’re innovating on the traditional role of what a studio is,” said Michael Lang, CEO of Miramax. “In fact, I like to think we’re a bit more Silicon Valley than Hollywood.”

Panasonic also announced a new children’s entertainment category in its app offerings, parterning with Disney publishing to bring digital books to 2012 TVs.

NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel also touted that over 200 hours of the summer Olympics in London would be broadcast in 3D, thanks to a Panasonic sponsorship. Included in that collection will be the games’ opening and closing ceremonies.

Panasonic will continue to bet big on 3D this year. Shiro Kitajima, president of Panasonic’s consumer electronics marketing in North America said 93% of the company’s 2012 plasma models and 46% of its LCD TVs would be 3D capable. And the company will continue its partnership with DirecTV for its 3D channel.

“I am confident this will be the year of 3D content,” he said, “3D movies, more 3D TV and much more … 3D content.”

While much of its presentation was focused on high-level partnerships, Panasonic did introduce a pair of new products at its media event: a 20-inch 4K TV just 3.5 inches thin (which the company said is geared more towards commercial uses than home users) and a portable tablet tied with its Skype partnership, which will allow people to wander the house and continue video conversations with friends.

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