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Panasonic Viera Cast - Cont'd

Moving on to the EuroSport content, this again is superbly presented, with the screen divided in two to play the video clips on the right, and two-column lists of the video news available on the left. The number of (usually short, newsy) clips available every day is quite prodigious, with football, tennis and motorsport sub-section shortcuts selectable for people most interested in any of those three sports.

The Picasa site, meanwhile, is again distinguished by an excellent front-end experience that pleasingly follows the same style Panasonic uses for YouTube - and of course, consistency is always a good idea if you want to make online features popular.

You can access featured Picasa albums and slideshows, but as noted in our LG section, obviously the key application of the platform is its facility to let you access your own photo albums stored on Picasa, for playback to friends on the TV screen.
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At the bottom of the Home menu is a 'more' option. Choosing this refreshes the seven online content boxes with other services - much of which is distinctly second-tier stuff to be honest, including a number of foreign language services likely to be of no interest to our readers.

The extra English language options are a text-based news and stock-checking service from Bloomberg Television, the EuroNews channel complete with various video news stories, and a straightforward if nicely presented weather forecasting 'channel'. For the record, the foreign language stuff is nova.cz from Czechoslovakia, while from Germany we have Tagesschau, bild.de, and QTom.

We nearly switched the TV off at this point, but then noticed that the 'More' button was still available at the bottom of the main content screen. So we chose it again, and were surprised to find Twitter tucked away all by itself on a third page of online content. Surely something as significant as this should be on the second page at least, not stuck away behind some foreign-language stuff?
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Obviously Twitter allows you to access your own Twitter account for updates from all your doubtless fascinating Twitter friends with all their action-packed lives. Or if you’re really tragic, you can search through 'tweets' from popular people you don’t know. Um, great.

Some readers might be worried that the static graphics associated with the Viera Cast platform could cause image retention on Panasonic’s plasma TVs. But thankfully, after a certain period of non-use, the graphics shrink and spin round screen-saver style until you press a remote key again.

All in all, Viera Cast is best summed up as a solid rather than spectacular online experience, given a little extra appeal by the quality of its interface.

Online Rating: 7/10


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