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Samsung and Sony – a tale of two panel makers

Giles Cottle, Principal Analyst at Informa

Giles Cottle, Principal Analyst at Informa

Samsung’s CES 2013 press conference marked an important but subtle change in the rhetoric of the world’s largest TV panel manufacturer.

What Samsung and its peers have learnt is that it is not just content, but user experience, that will win the battle for the living room. Long gone are the days when adding the likes of Netflix et al to a Smart TV platform would get punters and pundits alike salivating – that low-hanging fruit is long gone.

Hence the focus on the addition of HEVC -delivering consumers better video quality for the same bandwidth- and faster changing between apps and video content, ironically an area that TV operators have long touted with fast channel change. Expect the boundaries between the two to shrink further in the coming years.

TV took a much lower profile at Sony’s press conference, with a focus on hardware not software. Sony’s 56-inch, 4K OLED display got the first audible “ooh” of the day from the assembled crowd.

Sony’s Smart TV strategy still appears muddled, but this cannot be helped by the fact that its forthcoming next generation PlayStation console has not launched yet, making the creation of a converged content platform across all of Sony’s multiple devices very difficult. Expect more focus on this area in 2014.

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