Panasonic goes Over The Top with AceTrax
By Robert Briel
Published: July 10, 2010 09.56 Europe/London

Panasonic has announced a partnership with Acetrax to launch a movie streaming service via Viera Cast compatible TVs and Blu-ray players. Users will have the choice to ‘rent’ or ‘buy’ movies and see them on their TV screen.

The Acetrax ‘widget’ will be available from September as a software update to recent Panasonic Viera Cast TVs, and allows the user to stream movies from a selection of over 2,000 titles from a range of studios including Paramount, Warner Bros, Universal, Momentum, Diva, Film Is Now, Eagle Rock and Charly Films.

Users will be able to store and access their purchases from any combination of four registered devices such as TVs, Blu-ray players, home audio systems and laptops. The quality offered is regular SD with stereo sound and is streamed using the VC1 Advanced codec.

“Connected TVs such as Viera Cast-enabled Panasonic Viera TVs will change the way in which customers will buy and consume movies in much the same way as we saw with music downloads. Acetrax has dedicated itself to providing the latest in Hollywood and local content to meet this demand,” said Leslie Golding, Acetrax’s CMO, in a statement. “What sets Acetrax apart is its ability to offer Hollywood movies as well as content from local partners across Europe that is tailored and specific to them.”

For the moment, the AceTrax service is available in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, the UK and Switzerland. Viera Cast was launched in Europe in May 2009 and is available on Panasonic’s VT20, V20, G20, D28 and D25 Viera TVs, as well as Panasonic’s 2010 line-up of Blu-ray Disc players. It currently offers contents from YouTube, Eurosport, ZDF and other sites, and supports free video and voice calls with Skype, using a separate accessory camera. The deal with Acetrax is non-exclusive.