Home Entertainment ANALYSIS: TV

“Expect an exciting range of new TVs packed full of features and new designs, including ultra-thin bezels, thinner screens, improved sound capabilities and the same quality our customers are used to. We’re also really proud of our unique warranty offer and it shows the amount of trust we place in the quality of Mitchell & Brown products.”

4K still dominates 24

Although 8K is making some inroads at the very top end of the market (screen sizes above 65- inches, prices over £3,000 for the most part), this remains very much a 4K market at nearly 80 per cent of sales value, said GfK’s Client Insight Director Consumer Electronics, Nick Simon. But the low prices referred to above are often attached to older technology with Full HD and even HD Ready TVs still contributing to the overall market profile; at least a significant majority of total market volume even if turnover at low prices hardly registers.

This is not just the preserve of legacy/heritage/alternative brands, but is contributed to by all but one of the main brands, he said.

“OLED grew again in 2019,” Mr Simon added, “almost reaching 200,000 units.”

Voice assisted

On Smart tech integration, Futuresource Consulting Senior Market Analyst, Matthew Rubin, noted that TV operating systems will be key to smart home expansion and we can also expect voice activation technology to feature prominently on new TVs, according to both Mr Rubin and Hisense UK’s Marketing Manager, Alistair Orr. “Voice assistant technology was a widespread focus,” Mr Rubin comments, referring back to this year’s CES, “with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa prevalent on the show floor and playing an important role in connecting TVs to the smart home.

“However, it has moved away from being a

differentiator to instead becoming a minimum expectation on mid-to-premium tier sets.” Near-field technology was also dominant, he added, with most brands recognising the privacy concern issues in western markets remains a

hindrance to the use of far- field microphones. However, some examples of TVs with far-field setups were shown and more are expected in the future, as the drive for smart home integration goes in tandem with a hands-free experience.

Samsung has notably softened its stance with Bixby on its TV sets, as they now also come with Alexa and Google pre- installed, giving its customers the easy choice between the three.

Mr Orr adds: “The

demand for voice-enabled digital assistants continues to rise as consumers start to customise their everyday lives with smart speakers, and are increasingly interested in how this functionality can be integrated into TVs.

“Likewise, consumers now also expect a smart TV platform to make streaming seamless with an easy-to-understand, responsive home screen that puts all your entertainment sources into one place.”

New and emerging

In addition to all this, another new and emerging technology is MicroLED, which is said to be the next major upgrade in TV technology, competing with OLED.

Extertis’s Ms Hope comments: “Samsung says its first commercially available MicroLED sets will boast 4,000 nits and could go as high as 10,000 in the fairly near future, compared with 1,000 nits for OLED, boosting brightness even further. According to Samsung the technology has a longer life-span, is very power efficient and in the long run will be less expensive to produce.” We can also expect to see the latest version of HDMI (HDMI 2.1) soon. “Consumers will start to see some TVs already supporting HDMI 2.1 which can support 8K video resolution in addition to faster frame rates with 4K content, which is good news for gamers,” Ms Hope adds. “The new standard is set to almost triple the amount of data that can be transmitted and will require new backward compatible cables as a result.”

Finally, on what we can expect from Hisense, Mr Orr teases: “You’ll have to watch this space! We can tell you there’ll be some great ULED TVs with Quantum Dot Technology and Full Array Local Dimming which we’re expecting to be a big growing trend in 2020. We’re also going to be launching another Laser TV, which is very exciting. But we don’t want to give too much away!”

The U7B 4K ULED TV from Hisense Maximising sales

So the TV sector continues in its dynamic and innovative fashion, with technology constantly and rapidly improving and changing, so it is vital that independent electrical retailers utilise their skills and knowledge to keep customers coming in store and purchasing from you – once doors are allowed to be open again, of course. This can be done by enthusiastically demonstrating the latest tech and educating visitors on what is best for them.

And while many retailers have to remain closed for the time-being, now might be a good time to work on your social media and online presence, even if you don’t, or can’t, sell online. During this period people stuck at home are using social media platforms more than ever to connect with friends and family and are looking for content that will make them smile, so utilising these platforms will no doubt mean you are front and centre of people’s minds once they are back in the market for new tech. When we come through the other side and shops can open again, the move towards smart home integration with TVs at the centre should help boost the businesses of independents, who can offer a level of customer service and expertise simply not on offer by online players and the multiples.

Sony’s ZH8 8K HDR Smart TV

April 2020

The Q80 TV from Samsung

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