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January 8, 2013
Samsung’s CES 2013 press conference marked an important but subtle change in the rhetoric of the world’s largest TV panel manufacturer.
The Korean vendor promised a new world of possibilities in home entertainment this year, introducing a full line up of larger screen TVs, including its first 85-inch Ultra High Definition TV (UHD TV) and its flagship Smart TV, the F8000 LED TV.
The UHD TV offers four times the pixels available on existing 1080p resolution, to deliver greater detail with an audio experience to match through 120-watt array speakers built into the frame of the television.
While the F8000 LED TV is the first Samsung television to feature a quad-core processor and support for the high compression video codec, HEVC, which delivers double the video quality over the same bandwidth.
Each of Samsung’s newest televisions feature the company’s S-Recommendation with Voice Interaction technology which analyses a user’s viewing history and the popularity and release dates of TV programs and creates a personalised menu of on-air, on-demand and app content for each viewer. The interface is now capable of understanding full sentences and natural language, Samsung said.
Giles Cottle, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said at the show that what Samsung and its peers have learnt is that it is not just content, but user experience, that will win the battle for the living room.
“Long gone are the days when adding the likes of Netflix et al to a Smart TV platform would get punters and pundits alike salivating – that low-hanging fruit is long gone. Hence the focus on the addition of HEVC -delivering consumers better video quality for the same bandwidth- and faster changing between apps and video content, ironically an area that TV operators have long touted with fast channel change. Expect the boundaries between the two to shrink further in the coming years.”
TV took a much lower profile at Sony’s press conference, with a focus on hardware not software.
The press announcement kicked off with an 84-inch 4K TV as well as smaller 55-inch and 65-inch 4K TVs at a “more accessible price range”.
But more interesting was the unveiling of the world’s first 4K video distribution service, which offers native 4K movies from Sony Pictures and other 4K content creators.
“Sony’s 56-inch, 4K OLED display got the first audible “ooh” of the day from the assembled crowd,” said Cottle from the show. “But Sony’s Smart TV strategy still appears muddled, but this cannot be helped by the fact that its forthcoming next generation PlayStation console has not launched yet, making the creation of a converged content platform across all of Sony’s multiple devices very difficult. Expect more focus on this area in 2014.”
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