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Smart TVs: Hype, Skype...& OLED

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 23/04/2013

Exclusive: JB Hi-Fi talks LCD, OLED and the ones to watch.

The TV market is "ticking over nicely" says Scott Browning JB Hi-Fi Marketing Manager and is currently in a changeover phase to newer models with bigger screens, OLED, 4K all on the way.

A lot of newbies will be hitting the shelves in the next few months, and theres a move to 50" and over displays as the once gigantic sets become more affordable, and people are replacing TVs bought 4 or 5 years ago.

"A 40" set now looks pretty small compared to a 50" he says and are now more tidy, power friendly, thus attractive for home use.

More than one of four television sets shipped worldwide in 2012 was a smart TV with Internet-connection, and will account for 50% of sets shipped by 2015, according to analysts IHS.

A lot of the Smart TV features becoming standard on all sets these days, admits  Browning - Internet browser, Skype, content apps as well as once super pricey technologies like 3D, LED, LCD.

But there's no one specific category that wins out - "LEDs are popular but are becoming the norm rather than anything special."

And speaking of affordable or lack of It, what of 4K TV (Ultra High Def), tipped as the Next Big Thing in tellys, which currently costs $18 grand plus?

Read: 4K To Gobble OLED: Analysts

"There are a few 4K sets coming this side of Christmas that seems to be good quality " says Browning although would not say any more than this.

But prices of UHD TVs, which range from 55"-110" displays are soon to come tumbling down, US based  TV analysts Gonzalez-Thayer told CN last month, who says "price pressure from smaller TV brands will bring the average-selling-prices down faster" and drive consumer demand.

And should we believe the hype about organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs, which are thinner and lighter with better pixel colours than than an LCD, with LG and Samsung tipped to launch models here this year.

"It hard to say, it will all come down to pricing and if OLED is superior quality," says JB's marketing man. 

"Its an interesting technology - it's great" but its a question of whether teh technology becomes economic to produce but it won't be case of OLED V 4K TV, he believes.

Me Old China Mate

 And speaking of new players emerging, "we re going to see  lot of technology brands originating from China soon" says Browning.

"Australia is the perfect test market as its right on China's doorstep."

From smartphones from Huawei, ZTE as well as in TV space TCL, and HiSense who have just announced a full LED LCD Smart TV which it claims will give big brands like Samsung, LG a run for its money, due to go on sale this month.

If other categories are successful, audio products from Chinese brands could also follow.

However, HiSense would not reveal the selling price of the Smart TV with all the bells and whistles and Browning too was keeping schtum, so we wont know how competitive the HiSense TV is until it goes on sale, expected this month or early May.

 "Chinese brands have access to a lot of technology and advantages on volume front. The Koreans [like LG and Samsung]  were in the same position 4 or 5 years ago. "

But its not just about scale - currency exchange rates is also an issue which the Chinese can take advantage of, at the moment.

"Theres a lot going on in terms of exchange rates at the moment" Browning notes.

However, the rise of the Chinese won't be at the expense of other established brands, he believes.

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