Panasonic’s AX802 is the first smart TV to come with Freeview, Freesat and the Freetime catch-up service built in.
As well as being a Freesat TV with Freetime, which provides access to catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5, the Panasonic AX802 is also the first device that will offer Freeview customers access to the same catch-up services too.
While giving customers the option to access catch-up services through an on-demand app menu, buyers of the Panasonic AX802 will be able to scroll back in time on selected channels to pick up on shows they’ve missed from earlier in the day.
Craig Cunningham, Panasonic’s TV Product Manager, said: “We’ve had a long standing relationship with Freesat and I’m really excited that we are the first manufacturer to have the Freetime service on our TVs.
“Research tells us that when it comes to smart TVs consumers want three things: the best content available, ease of use and flexibility. The Freetime service delivers on all of these aspects and more and when combined with our heritage in picture quality it’s a great combination.”
As with YouView, the combined digital terrestrial and internet-delivered catch-up service, the Freetime programme guide lets you scroll back seven days letting you hunt down missed episodes of your favourite shows more easily.
YouView has breifly spoken of plans to launch integrated TV sets in the past but so far we’ve not heard or seen anything concrete on this front.
Paul Gilshan, marketing director of Freesat said: “We’re really proud of how Freetime has been taken up by Freesat viewers, and it was a natural evolution to bring that connected Freetime service to televisions. The deal with Panasonic today really delivers that.”
Gilshan also added that Freesat is keen to work with other manufacturers and bring the Freetime experience to more integrated TV sets.
Panasonic AX802: Freeview and Freesat with catch-up in 50, 58 and 60-inch sizes
For those who prefer accessing catch-up content through TV versions of 4oD and the rest you’ve got the option to do that to. What’s more, from launch the Panasonic AX802 will be able to access the new-look version of BBC iPlayer for smart TVs from launch.
Currently a YouTube app, a feature of Freesat Freetime set-top boxes like Humax HDR-1000S, isn’t present on the AX802’s Freetime catch-up menu. You will be able to access a YouTube app elsewhere on the menu, but Cunningham told Recombu that work to bring a YouTube app to Freetime on the Panasonic AX802 is in progress.
The full on-demand line-up for Freetime on the Panasonic AX802 currently is BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5, BBC News and BBC Sport.
The Panasonic AX802 is an 4K Ultra HD TV that comes with an HDMI 2.0 port. Other new features of the AX802 include improved profile features and facial recognition which we saw on Panasonic’s previous 4K set, the 65-inch TX-L65WT600B.
For starters, the pop up camera mechanism is more discreet, a tiny matchstick head in comparison to some models.
Secondly, the software in the AX802 adapts to recognise the faces of everyone at home and will begin loading up recommendations tailored specifically to them. The new smart remote features a star key which allows you to favourite content.
There’s no way to downrank content like you can with Virgin Media TiVo, but at least you’ll be able to actively tell Panasonic what kinds of content you’re interested in. The smart remote is very similar in design to that of the TX-L65WT600B and the main remote, complete with a brushed aluminium finish, has a weighty, premium feel.
Finally, proximity sensors will detect when someone is in the room and will cause the camera to pop up and start pap passing people. This is all design to happen automatically, making logging in and accessing favourites less of a hassle.
The Panasonic AX802 will be available 50, 58 and 60-inch versions when they launch in early April. Prices aren’t yet available, but we’re told that they will be ‘competitive’. Given that the last 4K set from Panasonic cost £5,500, we’re expecting the price to be somewhat lower than this.
Stay tuned for more hands-on pictures and video.