LG Announcing Exit From Plasma (PDP) TV Business

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After Panasonic and Samsung recently called it quits on the plasma flat screen television, it is now apparent that LG, the last big brand left standing in this segment, is following suit after they hinted that they are making the announcement very soon. This revelation was made after indicating further venture into the OLED business with the release of a 65-inch 4k OLED TV display. This really comes as no surprise as new technology becomes cheaper and better with every new model that comes out. The difference in performance has also been made somewhat irrelevant with picture quality of LCD and OLED now very comparable to quality churned out by plasma displays. For the plasma enthusiasts, it might be a good idea to grab one right now as prices drop even further as companies try to clear their final inventories. This isn’t the final death knell for this technology though as there are still some manufacturers, like the Chinese Changhong Electric Co., who will keep making plasma boxes indefinitely.

Read announcements:
Panasonic – http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/2013/10/en131031-8/en131031-8.pdf
Samsung – http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/01/us-samsung-sdi-plasma-idUSKBN0F62W620140701

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Packing more pixels into those flat screens with 4K!

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The race to cram more pixels into those displays isn’t only limited to smart phones, tablets or computer screens as it has also benefited the ubiquitous television. If you think we’re stuck at HD (high-definition) then I guess you’ll be happy to know that we’ve actually moved on from that by what many considers a big leap in pixel count— about 4 times more pixels, to be more precise, compared to the standard 1080p HD television.

Comparison of the different resolution standards

Comparison of the different resolution standards


What is dubbed as 4k television, otherwise known as Ultra HD (UHD) flat screens with resolutions of 3840×2160 to 5120×3200 depending on the aspect ratio (HD resolution is just 1920×1080), has actually been around for a bit of time but I’ve not really paid much attention to them since they’re really still pretty expensive (the way LCD flat screens were when they were new in the market). However, the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) has made developments in the 4k arena a bit harder to ignore with some cool demonstrations of head-turning TV displays that are reportedly bound for the consumer market— all of them packing some mean pixel firepower!

Take, for example, the stunning display of curves from Samsung and LG with their respective 105 in. curved screen TVs which they both claim are the world’s first. Both TVs sport Ultra HD pixel count levels with 21:9 ratio which makes it pretty wide indeed and will be a true centerpiece of any living space. These two same companies also showed prototypes of a TV screen that bends. Yep, bendable TVs may be in your living rooms sooner than you think, provided that you can afford them at their first mass market release.

Samsung's 105 in. curved TV (Image credit: TheVerge.com)

Samsung’s 105 in. curved TV (Image credit: TheVerge.com)


Another interesting development is the fact that companies are truly making them televisions smarter for a more interactive viewing experience by putting in more sophisticated operating systems (OS). LG showed off a new flat screen unit installed with a proprietary OS called WebOS (which they actually acquired from HP) which can make the TV access more than traditional TV shows as it can also show Internet content and can be used as a communication device as well (e.g. using Skype, etc.). Hisense also showed a TV installed with its own version of Google’s Android OS which isn’t really surprising as it isn’t the first non-smartphone device that got “Androidized” but is still, I think, a clever way to innovate more on the smart TV experience.

But the best news is yet to come as one of the best developments all in all is the price war trend developing among these top companies. Vizio beat them all to it by releasing the first sub-$1,000 unit which, incidentally, is also their very first offering on 4K! This is a 50-inch model which is indeed pretty surprising considering the current price levels of TVs of such size from the bigger brands (Samsung, Sony, etc.). While lower prices have been seen in smaller, relatively unknown brands, such trend creeping into the Samsung or Sony territory would be welcome development indeed.

Related article: 4K Ultra HD LED TVs Below $1,000

Electronics companies are obviously betting on the 4k as the wave of the future but is their bet well-founded? Is the market adopting? Reports indicate that it’s slowly doing so and that things are also slowly happening in other 4K-related devices as well. Some new set-top boxes are adopting 4K as well which bodes well for those wondering if 4K content will be supported well into the future.

Will you buy 4K anytime soon?

Also read: LCD vs. LED vs. OLED TVs: What’s the difference?

References:
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/best-4k-tvs-ces-2014-1431723
http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/9/5291546/spec-sheet-tvs-ces-2014-curved-4k-flexible
http://www.eeweb.com

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A seemingly counter-intuitive trend of Plasma and LCD TV buying in the U.S.

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Plasma TV repair and LCD TV repair is in for a surge in demand. The following are the reasons why I think so:

Being a researcher by profession, I’ve been pretty curious as to how TV sales are doing especially during a time of severe economic upheaval that, it appears, the entire world is going through.

Searching online I found a report by DisplaySearch that indicated a pretty healthy state of TV buying among the US population during the third quarter of last year (2008). The US is pretty much a good gauge of world economy and seeing how the good sales were, at least up to October 2008, was pretty surprising for me considering the economic havoc the credit crisis is causing worldwide.

Below is the spreadsheet report provided by DisplaySearch which I leeched off another tech-related blog (I could no longer locate the file). For the top LCD TV brands, Samsung, Sony,Sanyo, Panasonic, Sharp, LGE, Vizio, Funai, reported positive quarter-on-quarter growth of 1 to 41% with Vizio and LGE performing the weakest. For the Plasma TV brands, positive growth were reported for all the brands except Vizio, which saw an astounding 41% decline in sales in the 3rd quarter of 2008. The year-on-year performance were also generally healthy except for that of Vizio.

(Click to enlarge)

What do I think is happening here? It takes but a simple click of the mouse to answer this. I went over to our friendly neighborhood Amazon.com and searched for some big flat screens in their inventory and saw the magic of economics. What we’re seeing are plain ol’ market forces at work. Since most businesses are predicting bleaker economic conditions in the coming year, and hence weaker demands on consumer products, they did what was natural in the scheme of things— PRICE SLASH!

A Samsung 32-inch LCD HDTV is now just going for about $600 on Amazon while the 52-inchers have been discounted down to about $2,000. All the other brands like Toshiba have made similar price slashes.

Another thing might explain this TV buying spree. Americans are foregoing expensive vacations in favor of staying home to ride out the rest of the economic downturn. Hence they’re stocking up on stuff to entertain themselves.

Are there opportunities in this trend, specifically money-making ones? There might be in the field of electronics repair. There have been millions of big screen Plasma and LCD TVs sold in the past few years and I’m pretty sure most of them are out of warranties. The current sales boom is indicating that businesses related to TV maintenance and repair might be in for brisk business in the near to long term.

More on this in future posts. Thanks for reading.

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