CES: Panasonic gets cheesy, again

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Worst Consumer Electronics Show (CES) press conference of the day, for the second year in a row, goes to Panasonic. Despite having the largest room of the dozen or so press conferences, the company managed to announce ... well... nothing.

The company's big news this year was that it will now brand all of its tvs, not just plasmas, as "Viera."

We'll let other pundits wonder what that means - it looks like it's related to plasma sales losing ground to LCD - but in the news department, it hardly registers.

Panasonic was obviously holding news back for audio visual president Toshihiro Sakamoto's keynote speech on Monday morning. Worse still, the company's hired gun - director Brett Ratner, of the Rush Hour movies - no-showed thanks to a flight cancellation. That may have been a good thing, as Ratner's shameless Panasonic plugging was one of last year' s lowlights.

Instead, the company subjected journalists to an Access Hollywood-style presentation of its new products, most of which were incremental improvements of old ones.

If there was one highlight of Panasonic's presentation, it was the introduction of a 32 gigabyte SD memory card, which can hold up to eight hours of HD video.

At least there was no Eva Longoria this year. The desperate housewives star made no friends last year when she bragged about having a Panasonic Viera in every room of her house.