Panasonic has announced that its line of plasma and Blu-ray players with the Viera Cast feature will now be able to access Amazon Video on Demand content as well. Instead of using your cable, satellite, or antenna connection, Viera Cast relies on a broadband Internet connection to access video content without the need for a computer or any set top box. The service also gives you access to YouTube and Google Picassa content.
The Amazon Video on Demand service lets you rent or purchase your choice from more than 40,000 titles; more than 500 of these are in high definition, though you’ll need at least a 3.5 Mb broadband connection for HD. The movie or other video content is streamed directly to your TV, so that you don’t need to have large hard drive storage to download the content first. The service is also available with a computer online connection, or using other devices such as the $100 Roku Player.
With the digital broadcast transition coming this Friday, I expect to see more people exploring online sources such as Amazon’s service and Web sites like Hulu.com as alternatives to broadcast television.