Panasonic announced in January that it’s new line of TVs with 4K displays would feature smart TV software based on Firefox OS. Now the company is starting to show off the first of those televisions, a line of Panasonic VIERA televisions with LED displays including the company’s first models with curved screens.
The TVs feature screens ranging in size from 40 to 65 inches and the top-of-the-line models will feature something Panasonic calls 4K Pro, which is the company’s technology to offer better color accuracy.
While that may help set Panasonic’s new TVs apart from the competition, the Firefox OS-based software is certainly something you won’t find on any other TVs in the near future.
Firefox OS is an operating system designed around the Firefox web browser. It was originally developed by Mozilla for smartphones and tablets, but Panasonic is using it as the basis of its smart TV software which it calls Home Screen 2.0.
The user interface doesn’t look anything like what you’d see on a Firefox OS smartphone. Instead, there are a series of “decks” for Live TV, apps, and devices. That last one will automatically show content from hardware you connect via a USB or HDMI cable.
You can customize your home screen by pinning apps and content for easy access, use a search tool to locate content from different sources, and access internet content from sources thanks to an app store. The folks at Expert Reviews took one of Panasonic’s new TVs for a quick test and found that a number of apps are already available, the software seemed pretty responsive, and that for the most part the user interface is simple and easy to use.
As you might expect from a TV running Firefox OS, you can also use the Firefox web browser to surf the web on Panasonic’s new TVs. But entering URLs with nothing but a remote control can be rather tedious.
Panasonic says you can also send content to its TVs using any smartphone, tablet, or PC with the Firefox web browser or other compatible app installed.
Firefox OS and Home Screen 2.0 are included in the company’s 2015 line of 4K televisions including the CX850, CX800, CX750, CR730, CX700, and CX860 series TVs. Pricing and launch dates haven’t yet been announced.
Mozilla showed a preview of the software at CES in January. Here’s a video I shot at the time:
I wouldn’t mind having a smart TV with the equivalent of an Android stick built in. I’d rather have vanilla Android than any of these other flavors of smart TV functionality. There are plenty of good Android sticks already out there but it’d be nice to have the functionality integrated right into the TV.
Some interesting ideas with being able to bookmark anything – apps, web pages, network or direct connected hardware.
You’ve got to wonder if all those apps are really conducive to use on a lean-back device like a TV though. I imagine a lot of them have been made with touch input in mind.
Still I might go for something like this if there isn’t a huge premium attached to it. Just treat it as a much more advanced source select menu.
And does it hit you with ads the way my non-Firefox Panasonic smart TV does? The app area is overrun, including blaring video ads, plus the volume bar ad I had to disable. May never buy another “smart” TV.
My experience with Smart TV’s is through Samsung. If I could go back and purchase a ‘dumb’ TV I would…the browser on my smart tv is worthless and the Smart TV menu/Programs lag tremendously. Worse purchase I’ve ever made. I’m looking for any excuse to get rid of it…
Why get rid of it? I have a Samsung “Smart” TV too. It has a great picture. I just won’t let it connect to the internet. Works perfectly as a dumb monitor. I would have bought a dumb TV but could not find one in the 60″ size that wasn’t total crap except a business model with a huge price tag ($3,000+).
Yeah, I prefer a dumb TV and a smart box which you can upgrade or replace for a lot less money than the price of a new TV.
In fact, I could probably get by with just a big monitor — I haven’t watched live TV in years.
The only time I watch live TV these days is when I am at the gym. All the exercise machines there now have a built-in color LCD panel with smart TV and internet access functionality.
Completely agree with you. Using my LG Google Tv as a dumb TV with Apple TV, Roku, FireTv, Tivo, Slingbox devices.
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