IFA Prepares for More Growth in 2015

The IFA 2015 Global Press Conference was held in Malta, with several product announcements ahead of the Berlin show (4th – 9th September).

IFA 2015 will be full once again, say organisers the GFU and Messe Berlin. The IFA+ Summit will return (7th – 8th September), as will the IFA TecWatch hall (hall 11.1).

Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, said that last year’s show had 48,000 more trade visitors than 2013, and more growth is expected this year. IFA now covers almost 150,000m², and the organisers are working on a new space. The show’s floor area will be increased within two or three years (Samsung will remain in the City Cube that it occupied last year).

Prices to attend this year’s show will be frozen at the 2014 level.

Among the products shown off in Malta was a new UltraHD TV from Grundig, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The new 65 VLX 9590 BP is a flagship model, with a curved 65″ screen, a quad-core processor and smart functionality. It has a triple tuner (with DVB-T2), active 3D and HEVC and VP9 decoding support. It will go on sale in June.

IFA Conference Paul GrayIHS‘ Paul Gray took the stage to talk about UltraHD. He explained that connected TV services were key in the adoption of the format. He also blamed the limited terrestrial UltraHD TV availability on broadcasters focusing on picture quality rather than speed to market.

UltraHD TV shipments are rising quickly, because consumers like the products and are willing to pay for them. By 2018, Gray said, all 50″+ TVs will be at least UltraHD. He advised retailers to focus on selling the viewing experience, rather than the pixels, noting that several Japanese retailers had constructed seating areas in front of the largest high-res TVs, close to the screens, where they have the most ‘wow’ effect.

Resolution alone is not enough. High frame rates are noticeable and important for specific content, like sports. Deep colour technologies such as high dynamic range have also been shown to be noticeable.

Broadcasters have some “nasty problems” to solve, said Gray, but UltraHD is becoming more relevant as content availability increases.

Microsoft‘s general manager of developer experience, Bryan Biniak, said that the company would have its own stand at IFA for the first time this year. Although no products to be shown were announced, it is expected that the event will be used to promote Windows 10.

In related TV news, TP Vision took the stage to discuss the adoption of Android in its Philips TVs. Marketing director Marc Harmsen said that 90% of the Android TVs the company has sold have been connected to the internet so far – significantly higher than the 60% connection rate in the previous (non-Android) generation.

The first half of 2015 will see 38 different Philips Android TVs introduced, of which 17 offer UltraHD resolution. More TVs will be announced later in the year.

Meanwhile Waiman Lam, senior director of technology and partnership at ZTE, spoke about the company’s vision for smartphones of the future.

‘M-ICT’ is ZTE’s vision of the connected future, which it has been promoting since last year. It is also the company’s strategy for taking on the next 30 years of development, focusing on connecting man-to-man, man-to-machine and machine-to-machine. Lam showed a video, in which many of the devices were transparent.

The Star 2 and Blade 6 smartphones and Spro 2 projector, all from CES 2015, were also on show.