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
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 http://bit.ly/15W5i02t
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!”
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
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 http://bit.ly/15W4VT3
Social live http://bit.ly/1b8XSxj
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
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
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?
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
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.
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 http://bit.ly/15W5b4n
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.