Smart TV will become the next battlefield for hardware manufacturers?

Today, a 50-inch high-resolution TV may cost several hundred dollars. This high price is really a big upgrade for users who already own TVs. And if you spend most of your time watching videos online on a tablet or mobile device, it would seem less meaningful to spend a high price on a TV that performs well. It is for these reasons that the sales of TVs have been weak in recent years.

However, TV equipment manufacturers have not lost confidence. The 47th International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas officially opened this week. At this show, TV manufacturers hope to work hard to attract more consumer attention. Many manufacturers have demonstrated "smart TVs" that can connect to the Internet and run app applications.

"Consumers are trying to tell us that they are more interested in the connection between TV and the Internet." Benjamin Arnold, an analyst at the NDP Group survey company, said in an interview.

Take Roku as an example. This manufacturer is famous for making set-top box devices including Netflix video streaming. The company announced that it will integrate video streaming services directly into the TV host. The two domestic manufacturers, Hisense and TCL, also produced the first batch of equipment with this design idea. And Anthony Wood, CEO of Roku, said that the company from California will exhibit six TV models integrating similar services at the show.

Wood believes that Roku can produce smarter TVs than competitors in the industry. He said that most TV equipment manufacturers still do not have a very important content in the process of producing smart TVs-massive video content resources, which is largely due to the unwillingness of many media companies Tailor-made smart applications for different models of smart TVs on the market. In contrast, Roku already has more than 1,200 smart apps available for download. Among these apps, there are many star apps like HBO GO, Netflix, and Vudu.

"Our goal is to become the leader of the big screen platform." Wood replied in an interview.

Samsung, as the world's largest TV manufacturer, also peers at the cake of Internet TV. This year, more than 75% of the TVs produced by Samsung will be smart TVs. According to Joe STInziano, vice president of home entertainment at Samsung Electronics America.

However, like other TV manufacturers, although Samsung advertises that its new TV has many new features and new functions, these devices still can't get rid of the shadow of traditional TV. This manufacturing company has been using these features as a selling point for a long time. Last year, Samsung released a TV device that has the ability to watch 3D video and has a screen resolution four times that of previous products. However, according to the report, sales of Samsung TVs were still low last year, and because of the severe scarcity of 3D content, this feature can be said to have fundamentally failed.

In the US market, ultra-clear TV sales accounted for less than 1% of 40-inch (or more) TV sales in the past 12 months. Despite this, this year Samsung is again working on curved high-resolution screen TVs. In this year's flagship product, it includes a high-end TV with a 105-inch ultra-clear curved screen.

The slight concave curvature of the screen can reduce the reflectivity of light. For example, in the living room, the ceiling light is easily reflected into the TV. The curved screen also allows users to sit on the side of the TV, even if they are far from the best viewing position in the middle area, they can still get a better user experience.

"Your eyeballs are curved, and your TV screen is also curved, so you can get a more natural viewing experience." Joe STInziano said.

Other TV manufacturers, such as LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and Sony, will also show their latest large-screen ultra-clear resolution TV devices this week.

According to the NPD report, as of November 2013, 22% of the TV equipment sold in the US market has Internet connectivity, which is a significant improvement from the previous year ’s 11%.

The NDP report also shows that 38% of users who purchase smart TVs find the importance of Internet connection and smart applications: two years ago, this proportion was 38%.

For James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, manufacturers who produce ultra-clear TVs seem to have misread the market's interest in streaming media. They just blindly improve the quality of the picture.

"Many TV manufacturers think they understand why people watch TV," McQuivey said. "However, their so-called conclusion is completely wrong. All manufacturers are striving to surpass their opponents in picture quality."

McQuivey believes that the tremendous growth of mobile video consumption and video services like YouTube shows that consumers' love for low-definition videos exceeds traditional TV.

"They all went in the wrong direction," he said. "The reason people love watching videos is because these videos are more emotional and can resonate more spiritually."

According to NPD's report statistics, in the year before November last year, TV manufacturers' turnover in the US market reached 15.5 billion US dollars (about 93.8 billion yuan), a decrease of 4 percentage points from the previous year. According to NPD's DisplaySearch report, worldwide, in the first three quarters of 2013, TV manufacturers shipped a total of 155 million TVs, down 3.6 percentage points from the same period in 2012.

"The TV industry is now in an equatorial windless zone. Many consumers have more resources to choose from on video sources, while another part of consumers have no need to update again in the short term because they have just upgraded their TVs." A consultant The company's president Raymond M. Soneira thinks so.

In the past few years, there is also a dark horse player in the TV industry, that is Apple. The company's small-screen devices iPhone and iPad continue to be sought after by consumers.

All along, there has been news that Apple is developing a smart TV. But Apple CEO Tim Cook has always been quiet about whether the company is planning to launch TV products.

Apple, as the world's No. 1 tablet manufacturer and No. 2 smartphone vendor, already has a huge user base. The video browsing experience on its tablets and smartphones has always been an important factor in the popularity of its devices. Mike Vorhaus, president of consulting firm Magid Advisors, said that in the United States, one-third of tablet users watch full-HD videos on the tablet at least once a week.

"Frankly speaking, the tablet is actually a TV." Mike Vorhaus, said.

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