Panasonic has announced plans for a new social TV product at CES – but its big reveal was slightly undermined by the decision to launch the device in partnership with MySpace.
MySpace TV will be integrated into Panasonic connected TVs in the second half of 2012, providing users with the ability to share their viewing experience with friends through their TV set rather than using a mobile or tablet.
The announcement, which was made by non-other than MySpace co-owner Justin Timberlake, was thin on detail, but it seems the product will offer similar functionality to social TV app Zeebox which yesterday announced an exclusive UK deal with BSkyB.
MySpace CEO Tim Vanderhook said: “Our belief was that we could enhance the TV experience by increasing viewers’ ability to connect to both content and each other.”
Connected TV is definitely the way forward for manufacturers like Panasonic – a handy infographic explaining how the TV landscape is changing can be seen here - but associating a new product with MySpace makes it feel dated before it has even come to market.
The fact that Panasonic had to choose such a beleaguered bedfellow is probably a reflection of its own parlous state of affairs – it was on track to lose 420bn yen in 2011.
Competition for the connected TV audience is set to be fierce – as reported in December Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has his sights set on dominating the marketplace; Microsoft has revamped Xbox LIVE as an all singing, all dancing entertainment hub; and rumours abound of a new Apple iTV that will probably blow the other devices out of the water.
So even taking into account the star power of Justin Timberlake, Panasonic’s decision to tie-in with MySpace is unlikely to set consumer pulses racing.