Monday, 14 October 2013

Battle for premium TV market on the rise

The battle for high-end television market is constantly shifting as electronic manufactures outdo each other in steadily churning out new TV models, albeit with negligible new features, that would make customers folk out an extra back.
In less than a year, players in the home entertainment sector have produced a string of new TV models that have captured the imagination of the premium TV market segment. At the beginning of the year, LG sparked off what has turned out to be stiff competition for the premium TV sets market when it released the world’s first 84 Inch Ultra-HD 3D TV worth about Ksh1.8 million. 
Ultra HD is the branding term for TV sets with roughly four times the resolution of 1080p HD TVs. An Ultra HD TV is wider than the average car and boasts 8 million pixels to generate crystal clear images at a resolution four times higher than existing Full High Definition TV. The sheer size of the display, which is equal to four 42-inch TVs, has a screen resolution that can display ultra HD pictures four times sharper than a full HD TV.
In a bid to also tap into the high market, other TV manufactures such as Sony and Samsung have also released similar TV sets but have been unable to match LG Electronic’s competitive pricing. Though Sony unveiled its 84 Inch Sony Bravia 4K LED TV in the Kenyan market, there is little to justify why its latest Bravia LED television goes for a whooping Ksh3.5 million, almost twice the price of its competitor.
The Sony Bravia TV has 4K (3840 x 2160) LED panel, comprising 8.29 megapixels, which is four times the resolution of Full High Definition standard. Samsung Electronics recently took the race for control of Kenya’s high-end television segment a notch higher by launching the country’s most expensive TV worth Sh3.7 million. However, besides the price and an inch to make the screen 85 inch, there is little tangible value that the manufacturer added to the new set.
However, this underscores the appetite for premium TVs in the local market with bigger screens and sharper resolution. Earlier this year, Samsung Electronics released a 75-inch full HD TV at Sh1.06 million while Japan’s Sharp unveiled an 80-inch model retailing at Sh1 million.
Besides size, the common features of the premium TV sets are their ability is convert normal television pictures into 3D pin-sharp images and Ultra-HD picture quality. LG has equipped its Ultra HD TV switch CINEMA 3D technology, bringing 3D entertainment into the Ultra HD arena.
The 3D Depth Control allows viewers to fine-tune the perceived distance between objects on the screen, for a customizable 3D experience. With the proprietary Samsung up-scaling engine, the Samsung UHD TV up-converts HD or Full HD picture to UHD-level quality by restoring detail to create greater precision and real-life picture quality.
The electronic manufacturers are currently locked in a battle for wealthy individuals and businesses like hotels and bars that are increasingly turning to wider screen sets for entertainment.
However, one of the biggest challenge that is slowing the speedy take up of premium Ultra-HD TVs is the unavailability of Ultra-high definition content through free-to-air services, cable or internet television sources. The only way of obtaining Ultra-HD content is through manufacturers.
However, there is a possibility of new movie content being made available on hard disk drives as the movie industry targets this new found niche market. Presently, production houses only provide near to ultra-high definition versions of movies to cinemas. With Africa middle class growing steadily, electronic manufactures are positioning themselves to capitalize on a burgeoning disposable income.
Manufactures of home entertainment gear have been shifting their focus towards new generation LED display technology as consumer interest in liquid crystal display (LCD) flat-screen wanes.
The uptake for LCD TVs has ebbed as consumers, especially in developed markets, trade in their huge cathode-ray tube TVs for flat screens. TV manufactures are now moving to newer organic light-emitting diode (OLED) flat-screen display presently used in high-end smartphones. The technology is billed to replace LCD in larger-sized panels such as TV screens in the near future.

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