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‘2021 will be the year HDR cements itself in the mainstream’ What can we expect to see from the home entertainment market in the year ahead?

n November, Toshiba TV unveiled a brand new Android TV model – the UA2B – its latest 4K HDR TV, joining the recently launched UK4B, UL20 and WK3 models. Drivers to purchase range from distress to

replacement but also a wish to upgrade, with consumers wanting the latest in smart CE to complement the extra time we are now spending at home. Speaking all about this latest product and how it

fits within the manufacturer’s plans for the future, Bart Kuijten, Commercial Director – Vestel UK (the company that owns Toshiba) speaks to ERT. He begins by saying that screen size is a simple

upgrade for people looking to get the cinematic experience at home. “The market is moving towards bigger screens,”

he says, “and we are going to see screen sizes above 60-inches become much more prevalent in 2021.” The UA2B is currently available in 58-inch only,

but with more sizes to come. In addition, it is powered by the brand’s TRU Picture Engine,

technology that automatically upscales non-4K content so you can experience movies and TV shows in the highest resolution. TRU Micro-Dimming technology analyses 300 different zones to enhance the contrast of an image by optimising the darker and brighter regions to create a more realistic image. Picture and sound quality are further enhanced

with Dolby Vision, delivering never-before-seen colours, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker. Continues Mr Kuijten: “We are expecting 2021 to

be the year HDR cements itself in the mainstream; thanks to broadcasters providing more HDR content and closer ties between content creators and tech partners, it is likely this is only going to bolster consumers’ knowledge and buy-in of the format. “The move away from linear broadcasting to on-

demand streaming models will continue and it’s important for retailers to keep up with the latest trends. On-demand providers are also much more agile to improvements in visual and audio quality, meaning that as the knowledge of HDR, for example, continues to rise they already have a wealth of content to be explored.”

The heart of the smart home Not only this, but the new UA2B is increasingly smarter than previous models, with Android TV offering viewers an assortment of content from Google Play and all the major catch-up services along with all the popular streaming platforms as well. Users can also cast from their phone, tablet or laptop with Chromecast built-in and the UA2B remote has an embedded microphone to control the TV and other devices via the Google Assistant button.

“We added Android TV and hands-free Alexa

options to our offering, giving our customers the ability to make the TV the heart of their smart home,” adds Mr Kuijten. “Android is exciting for us as it goes beyond

traditional smart capabilities and offers an array of subtle improvements that may initially go unnoticed but as it’s used more often, the real value is demonstrated.” Manufacturers that can offer a wider range of

compatibility across smart home providers are already very popular with consumers, and this will continue in 2021, as Mr Kuijten says, “particularly TV models with in-built microphones.”

Cinematic experiences Of course, a quality sound can make all the difference to home screen entertainment. With the help of key industry players such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, backing up cinematic sound capabilities and features are becoming commonplace. Mr Kuijten states that Toshiba’s audio

proposition is continually improving. “The hunt for cinematic experiences in the home will drive forward quality, with high quality audio likely to be the biggest benefactor.” And to conclude, he reveals that we’ll see some

“fantastic launches” from Toshiba this year, with slimmer designs and a big focus on a premium aesthetic. “You’ll see further integration of smart home tech

into our ranges in 2021 – expect to see a connected dashboard which will allow users to check the status of their smart devices around their home. “We’ll continue to improve our picture and audio

performance, working with our partners Dolby and DTS to achieve this.”

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