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A New Mission for Panasonic Hollywood Lab

6 Feb, 2015 By: Chris Tribbey

LOS ANGELES — Panasonic held an open house Feb. 5 at its Hollywood Lab to show off, among other products, a new line of Ultra-High-Def 4K TVs — and reaffirm its commitment to both the consumer electronics category, and Hollywood.

Panasonic Hollywood Lab (PHL) may have officially launched in 2001, but its origins — and the company’s relationship with the Hollywood production technology community — can be traced to Universal Studios all the way back to 1993.

That’s when and where Panasonic launched the High-Definition Television Center (HDTC), with the company helping to standardize film scanning for high-def TV … when everything was still analog.

Since then Panasonic’s (and the PHL’s) mission with its Hollywood relationships has always been to deliver theatrical product to the home. From DVD to Blu-ray Disc to 3D Blu-ray to today’s development of an Ultra-High-Def (UHD) Blu-ray Disc, it’s been about what’s next for the living room screen.

The point of PHL has always been to work across the entertainment ecosystem and get everyone on the same page, whether the problem at hand surrounds capture, professional display, consumer display, transmission or distribution.

“Everybody is working toward the same commitment to excellence. It brings the divisions together collaboratively,” said Ron Martin, director of PHL. “It makes the development process dynamic and really wonderful.”

But next?

“That [home entertainment] mission is essentially complete,” Martin said Feb. 5 during an open house for PHL’s new facility, located just a few blocks from it’s old one at Universal. “And we keep asking ourselves: ‘Where do we go now?’”

Taking what it has learned with its work in home video standards within the production community, PHL now wants to “broaden it to the larger technologies of the media-driven society,” Martin said. “We want to branch out further in business-to-business relationships, many of which are driven by the Hollywood community. Into museums, arenas, public venues, themed-entertainment parks, there are so many [opportunities] in those areas that are imagining- and media-driven.”

So, at its open house event, Panasonic didn’t just show off its latest UHD sets: there was a prototype HDR (high-dynamic range) TV, a room dedicated to its 4K and 2K projectors, and another that showed off the company’s “SpacePlayer” projector technology, which projects 3D images using digital light processing (DLP) and a laser as the light source.

In short, PHL wants to expand its influence of where its innovations and technology are utilized: retail, concerts, theme parks, hospitals, classrooms, you name it.

“Essentially, we like to think of it as we’re sitting in the middle of all the divisions, divisions individually that have always had this commitment to a quality product,” Martin said. “What we want to do is get them all at the same table, and get them on the same quality standards.”

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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