HbbTV, known as Freeview Plus in Australia, lets you access both free-to-air TV broadcasts and an EPG (electronic program guide), but also lets you access ‘catch-up video on demand’ TV shows from the major networks, via broadband, direct to your TV.
For those without an HbbTV-equipped television, you’ll need a set-top-box that offers the service, with Panasonic announcing today that its current line-up of Blu-Ray and DVD Recorders is getting a free firmware upgrade to deliver HbbTV 1.5 compatibility - obviating the need for any addition set-top-boxery, to coin a bit of phraseology.
The Panasonic models eligible for the free firmware update are the ‘Panasonic DMR-BWT740 Blu-Ray Recorder’, the ‘DMR-XW440 DVD Recorder’ and the ‘DMR-PWT540 Blu-Ray Disc Player with HDD’.
This functionality is also available on the company’s recently released DMR-BWT945 Triple Tuner Blu-ray Recorder.
If your compatible Panasonic device from those listed above is already connected to the Internet, you should already have received the firmware update automatically from 10 November 2014.
Panasonic’s Consumer Electronics Group Director, Richard Tassone, said: “This upgrade is very convenient for users, as they don’t need a HbbTV-compatible TV to access the platform, just their current Panasonic Recorder.”
Panasonic’s Blu-Ray and DVD Recorder range is available from retailers nationally.
Each of the four compatible devices has various stand-out features which you can see in retail stores, but depending on the model you get, you can record to Blu-ray discs, you can get hard disks up to 2TB in size for up to 1370 hours of HD recording, there are Twin and Triple HD tuners available and more.
Meanwhile, all four models include a web browser as well as services like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for big-screen TV Internet use, while three of the models include Miracast to mirror the display of compatible smartphones and tablets to the big screen, as well as especially top quality 4K upscaling to 4K-capable TV panels.
More information can be found at Panasonic’s site.