IFA Thoughts

By Bob Raikes
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So, we’re back from IFA. We had hoped to bring you the first half of our IFA report this week, but the need to get to Amsterdam for IBC caused a problem in that plan! We’ll have a big report on the whole show next week.

However, we thought we’d highlight a few items and give you some of our thoughts about the show.

On one level, there were not a great number of significant surprises. As last year, for the TV brands the topics were 3D, connected TV and LED backlights. This year, 3D was much more to the fore and Göksen, our TV analyst, made the point that many of the brands were emphasising the availability of content rather than the sets. There were relatively few new models on public display as makers try to clear the inventory of current ranges.

New 3D camcorders were being shown and Panasonic had an impressive demonstration using the camcorders live with 3D displays. Apart from the 153″ PDP (with 4K x 2K resolution and looking very good), I think almost all of Panasonic’s displays were 3D this year (I should have had this thought while I was there and I could have checked!).

One of the most impressive display technology developments was LG’s nano LED sets which are very slim but use direct LED backlighting to give high dynamic range. I didn’t expect to see anything that slim and that good this year and with deliveries expected in Q4. We couldn’t get much information on the booth, but our guess is that the sets may use the Nanosys quantum dot LED technology that was licensed by LG Innotek at the beginning of the year and that we highlighted in our our SID report.(Display Monitor Vol 17 No 26). If so, the development of the technology in this timescale is impressive indeed.

Samsung had a big push on its new ‘Tab’ tablet device as well as on TV. Google hyped a speech by its CEO, which ended up by saying not a lot about GoogleTV. Connected TV was everywhere and the announcement by Philips (which started its press conference by talking about accessories), Sharp (who had a lot more to talk about this year) and Loewe (whose TV industrial designs certainly gained attention) that they would collaborate on content on their connected TVs was very interesting. Vodafone showed its new hybrid set top box which can combine free to air cable, satellite (both widely available in Germany) and internet content.

DisplaySearch had a one day conference on the Friday which we will report in detail next week. 

It’s often what is not done that is as interesting as what is shown. We haven’t finished going through all the details of all the brands, but in discussion, none of us (four Display Monitor staff attended the show) could remember anybody talking about a new ‘two box’ or wireless TV, that is to say, a set where the display is separated from the control and input circuitry and connected by wireless (although Haier had the completely wireless – including power – TV that it showed at CES). LG’s new super slim set uses a slim ‘ribbon’ cable between the set and the circuitry. There seemed to be continued problems in getting the right price and performance for wireless.

There was also little emphasis on OLEDs apart from on the LG booth (although I saw that Vestel had a couple of 15″ sets). 

So, a busy show and we’ll have a (very) full report for our subscribers next week.

Bob

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