Bbc blue room at IFA 2013


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Summary of insights from the BBC Blue Room at 2013's IFA Conference.

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Bbc blue room at IFA 2013

  1. 1. The MediaGuardian recently made 'You' number one in their guide to the most important people in the media. It reflected the growing power and influence of the digital consumer, topping even our own DG at number three. Press conference after press conference at IFA 2013 showed that consumer manufacturers seem to agree and are busily shaping their businesses and products accordingly. Samsung opened five ‘lifestyle’ research labs last year and surveyed 18,000 people to understand what we wanted from TV. LG told the press about their survey 'what consumers are looking for.’ Their research lead them to re-think where the 'on' button should be located on a mobile. The LG G2 mobile has only one physical button which is located on the rear of the handset. So it looks like we are all going to have more of a say in what's going to end up on our mobile devices. Sounds great, but as the saying goes, 'be careful what you wish for'. It could mean we get the fantastic innovative products that we say we want or we could end-up with some real howlers!
  2. 2. Home connectivity was a focal point for every manufacturer. Smart TVs were ubiquitous in the home appliance areas of the show and used as central hubs to control devices. Samsung got excited about connected fridges and washing machines and brought in the designers, broadcasters and chefs to hype up their product range - they are appealing to our emotional as well as our technological sides. In the bedroom area of their connected home was a 55 inch Ultra High Definition Smart TV with ‘Home View’. This is an app to control your home appliances with commands to lock up house, set temperature and switch lights on/off. Panasonic are also working on a washing machine that learns your voice commands and makes cycle suggestions based on the weather. It’s all about the race to make appliances work together or improve interoperability between them and advancements over 12 months have been rapid. There is potential for real convergence of devices in the home - your fridge becoming the screen to watch programmes, your living room TV becoming a home control centre and your coffee maker reading you the news! Siemens fridge footage Samsung connected fridge footage
  3. 3. TVs used to be big boxes that were awkward to fit into our homes. Then along came 'the flat screen TV' and consumers fell in love with it. Fast forward to IFA 2013 and Samsung believe the love affair may be over and that “the future is not flat'' but CURVED. Samsung’s ambitious claim was matched by the boldness of their TV display. They showed off a 55 inch Ultra HD 4K OLED TV and a 65 inch UHD 4K TV LCD, both with curved screens. It's not only Samsung that have got the curve bug. LG, their fellow Korean and fierce competitor displayed the world largest (77 inch) Ultra High Definition OLED TV curved TV. Are Samsung and others right, will consumers give up their flat screens? Leaving our final word to a tweet we received during IFA from @NoiseUKLtd ... “Still don't get the curve, but if it sells more TVs or enables lighthouse keepers to wall mount!”
  4. 4. Text There is a new focus on digital imaging at IFA and Sony released products to capture our imaginations. Their Xperia Z1 waterproof Android smartphone has a 20.7 mega pixel camera and comes with a suite of new apps. These include Social Live which allows you to broadcast a live stream direct to Facebook and Timeshift burst which captures 61 images in 2 seconds. Helping our smartphones take even better snaps are the release of two stand-alone lenses which attach to any Android or iOS smartphone. The Sony QX10 and QX100 are part of a new product range and a further push to turn our phone into a compact camera or DSLR equivalent. Nokia’s latest smartphone innovation is the 41 mega pixel, Lumia 1020. MASSIVE IMAGES! There is also a click on grip accessory that includes a shutter button and additional power supply. Earlier in the year Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 Zoom which is currently the only smartphone with a 10x optical zoom on the market. The list goes on... Manufacturers are giving consumers the devices and tools to create. But who will get it right? Time burst Social live
  5. 5. Today there is: NO Ultra High Definition broadcast TV available in the UK NO clear understanding of how your UHD TV is going to connect to anything! NO Blu-Ray standard for UHD NO 4K games devices But all this negativity hasn't quelled the manufacturers enthusiasm as UHD televisions flooded the halls at IFA this year. All the large manufacturers, Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung had models on show and they were also joined by a fair splattering from the emerging Chinese brands you have probably never heard of such as Hisence, Changhong and TCL. So what will people watch on a Ultra High Definition TV this year? It's all about up-scaling 1080p HD video into Ultra High Definition. Up- scaling is the automatic conversion of low resolution to high resolution. All of the manufacturers had their own upscaling tech such as the Quadmatic Picture Engine from Samsung and 4K X-Reality Pro from Sony. Each, of course, proclaiming that their version gave you the sharpest and most detailed picture. The price for a known brand will be about £5-6k and at that sort of price they will be aimed squarely at the home cinema enthusiast and first adopters.
  6. 6. Ultra High Definition video needs to be recorded and played back at more than 25 frames per second otherwise the video looks very jumpy. But up until now the UHD televisions on the market were only capable of playing material at 25/30 frames per second. However, all this has changed with the launch of Panasonic’s new UHD range. They boast the new HDMI 2.0 standard, so can accept signals of 50 and 60 frames per second. Panasonic believe they are ready and waiting for next generation set top boxes and games consoles. Samsung have taken a different approach in an attempt to make their TVs future proof. Their 55 inch and 65 inch models will be sold with a separate input box that will contain most of the processor power, tuner and HDMI ports and can be connected to the TV via a single cable. The new HDMI 2.0 standard will allow 60 frames per second. Will that be enough to deliver perfect picture and motion quality? Or will the frame rate still need to be higher?
  7. 7. One of the most talked about devices at IFA 2013 was the Samsung Gear Smart Watch. We got hands-on to look at unique key features which included making calls using the in-built mic and ear piece, reading text/email messages, snapping images on the 1.9 mega pixel camera and running apps using the simple swipe screen interface. But don't throw out your smartphone just yet. The Gear needs to be paired with the Note 3 to access both control settings and also Samsung's own Gear app store - another addition to their ecosystem. We are about to see countless smart watches hit the market, all varying in shape, apps, connectivity and beauty. Sony has a waterproof Android device that connects to any smartphone using near field communication; Qualcom’s ‘Toq’, more a proof of concept to show off their Mirasol display; Sonostar delivered a curved e-paper screen with 7 day battery life; and Omate are promising a stand-alone device with full access to the Google Play store. Lets not mention the iWatch shall we! Pop in to Blue Room and check out the Burg smart watch. No phone required.
  8. 8. New at IFA and to the world of music streaming services are Jabra Sound and Pure Connect. Pure have launched Pure Connect, the subscription service that delivers both live radio and on-demand content in a user-friendly dynamic interface. It also allows the listener to pull in their iTunes tracks and comment/post on music. Pure have launched this along side their multi-room speaker range Jongo. Jabra also released Sound, their music-streaming app alongside a colourful mini speaker range. A key feature includes YouTube, which is embedded in their app and allows users to cache and playback music videos offline. Social media is redefining the landscape of radio and music. Artists are giving exclusivity to brands and using social as a conduit. There are easy share options and recommendations from friends who are starting to build their own social media worlds. Jabra footage
  9. 9. Cloud TV for Philips is a subscription streaming service, which offers access to 100s of additional channels via their Smart TV app. Some content is free and some you pay for. They have also gone into partnership with Dropbox to create Cloud Explorer. This will enable viewers to record programmes remotely and store them in the cloud along with photos, videos and music for access anywhere in the world. With all this additional content, navigation and recommendation continue to be vital. Toshiba’s Media Guide will navigate though channels and content and can push recommendations. Whilst advancements in their Cloud TV gateway gives access to live TV, video on demand, calendars, games and a messaging service between other Toshiba Cloud TV users. Further incentives for audiences to connect their TVs.