IFA a Success for OLED

IFA is always something of a disappointment, especially if your interest is in TVs. If your main interest is in domestic appliances, cooking or beauty there is lots of news. However, there is not much really big news in TV. Why is this, when so many of the big brands and suppliers are there?

Well, the TV market is a very seasonal market, with a clear annual cycle. New products are publicly revealed at CES in January and released into the sale channels in Q2, when last year’s models are cleared. In Q3, inventory and momentum starts to build up and in Q4 the volume sales really start around Black Friday and the Christmas & New Year holidays. That means that at IFA, brands want to take orders for what is in store and on the production line. The last thing they want to do is to stall the momentum by showing products that won’t be available for a while.

Despite this, we managed to find plenty of news. The main story was really the wide adoption of OLED TVs by Philips, Grundig (Beko), , Skyworth (and Metz) and Vestel to join the existing suppliers, LG and Panasonic (which remains active in the European market). The Panasonic work to improve the low black levels of OLED displays seems to bring reference grade performance to next year’s models.

HDR was also a big topic, with much more interest in the HLG format although we heard at the Tecwatch event that there is frustration that there is no equivalent to HDMI 2.0a to allow the delivery of HLG over HDMI and the HDMI group announced an ‘Alt Mode’ for HDMI V1.4 – only around 2.5 years late, in our view.

In the mobile area, there were plenty of new phones, although not much that was really different apart from the Moto expansion modules. There were some nice new PCs from Lenovo and HP, while LG introduced a new 38″ size format for desktop monitors which could be a great solution for high productivity. Samsung also surprised us and most of the other panel makers by announcing a monitor with 1ms MPRT using a VA panel and aimed at gamers. Gamers will have had much to look at, but not much from Acer as it excluded end users from its booth. That was strange given that the company had several good-looking new products including multiple displays that take advantage of gaze recognition technology.

JVC and Sony both had new home cinema projectors (we’ll have more on Sony in our Cedia report) and we found a number of new pico projectors.

During the show, the story about Hanjin broke. The situation will take some time to unwind and although some of the 97 container ships it had at sea in early September have been unloaded, but there remain questions about who will pay for storage and unloading. Although some at IFA thought that the Korean government might get involved, it has has said that no money from the government or central bank would be put into the business. As we went to press, a South Korean court looking at the issue said that a rehabilitation plan was “realistically impossible”. Reuters estimates that cargo worth $14 billion remains trapped on Hanjin ships around the world.

Anyway, we found plenty of news, so enjoy our report!