Six weeks ago Richard Tassone, Director, at Panasonic’s Consumer Electronics Group said that by the 25th of May owners of their top end WT 600 65″ Ultra High Definition TV would get an upgrade that included Netflix.
Yesterday Panasonic delivered an upgrade to the WT 600 but no Netflix app was included.
Consumers who forked out $5,995 for the Panasonic model instead are now having to do with updates to Creepster and Gaiam TV along with Iroka TV and an Autisim TV Channel as opposed to Netflix.
Despite this the Japanese Company who has seen their market share slide in Australia with Chinese brands like Hisense now outselling Panasonic, has not explained why they have been unable to deliver an Australian version of the Netflix app when Panasonic is bragging about their Netflix enabled TV’s around the world.
Back in 2013 at CES Panasonic showed 2013 4K UHD TV’s running Netflix.
Tassone has not explained why premium customers are having to go without Netflix when a consumer who paid sub $500 for a 32″ Panasonic TV, made in bottom end Chinese factory, have already got Netflix on their Australian TV.
On March 3rd Panasonic Australia announced its VIERA range of Smart TVs will be Netflix-capable upon the launch of the streaming service in Australia.
When Tassone was challenged on this statement Panasonic then said that from24 March, Netflix will be immediately supported by the 2014 range of Panasonic Smart TVs.
Back in January 2014 Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi were both selling the WT 600 65″ Ultra High Definition TV as a 2014 model, now Panasonic management are claiming it was not a 2014 model but a 2013 model.
When asked whether the WT 600 which was launched in Australia as a premium 4K Ultra High Definition TV, which Panasonic management at the time claimed was “superior” to what was being offered by LG, Sony or Samsung had a software problem or inferior embedded chip technology which was preventing an immediate upgrade Tassone was none committal.
Panasonic has flatly refused to explain why the WT 600 TV has been isolated from over 40 of their models that the Company now claims has Netflix.
Graeme Rodwell from The Sound Craftsman told SmartHouse “I am an Audio Video installer and have supplied and installed many different makes and models of TV’s including Panasonic WT-600.
I believe that Panasonic are making a large marketing error in not ensuring that purchases of Panasonic products can be upgraded to the current range of applications (in particular Netflix – due to the publicity it is receiving)”
He claimed “Panasonic have been slow to include many applications in their products over the last several years, but without doubt there now is definite strong demand from consumers for a full range of applications, as many believe that this is the way that TV will be viewed in the future”.
“Many have relatively modern upmarket TV sets, purchased within the last three years and are asking why they have been abandoned by Panasonic, and consider that it should be there right to have access to additional applications”.
“Some are now considering an upgrade to a different brand of ‘Smart TV’.
“If there are technical reasons why additional applications are not or cannot be made available they should explain the situation, which would help to retain a good customer relationship”.
He claimed that “Panasonic may choose to ignore this potential future market but at their peril. It may mean that when making the next purchase Panasonic perhaps will not be considered”.
Also missing from their application line-up on the WT 600 is other streaming services from Stan, Foxtel and Presto.