TELE­VI­SIONS

Big­ger, brighter, clearer.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S the con­sumer elec­tron­ics show that sets the agenda for the rest of the year and, if pre­dic­tions are cor­rect, 2012 is go­ing to end in a tech­no­log­i­cal rush.

In­ter­na­tional Funkausstel­lung, or IFA as it is bet­ter known, at­tracted more than 140,000 vis­i­tors to its Ber­lin halls to peek at the fu­ture of tech­nol­ogy, and man­u­fac­tur­ers were keen to im­press.

Be­yond co­conut fi­bre phone cases and new ro­bot vac­uum clean­ers lay a host of emerg­ing tech­no­log­i­cal trends.

TELE­VI­SION EVOLVED

Tele­vi­sion screens are poised to get sig­nif­i­cantly big­ger and brighter this year, with two emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies fi­nally avail­able for the lounge room.

The next gen­er­a­tion of screen tech­nol­ogy – or­ganic light- emit­ting diode or OLED TVs – are due to arrive this year in 55- inch screens that are brighter, faster, more en­ergy- ef­fi­cient and much slim­mer.

Not just one com­pany has made the break­through: Sam­sung and LG are al­ready fight­ing for OLED TV buy­ers with screens that both claim are ‘‘ the world’s big­gest’’.

Sam­sung Europe au­dio visual mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Michael Zoller says OLED screens rep­re­sent an evo­lu­tion of tele­vi­sion tech­nol­ogy that users can im­me­di­ately ap­pre­ci­ate.

‘‘ OLED is not just an in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ment. It’s also a game- chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ Zoller says.

Sam­sung’s 55- inch screen, the ES9500, will be just 7mm thick, fea­ture a tiny bor­der, and will come with in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity, a pop- up cam­era for in­ter­ac­tive use and 3D view­ing.

Sam­sung Aus­tralia au­dio visual head Paul New­ton says the com­pany is do­ing ‘‘ ev­ery­thing we can to have it on sale in Aus­tralia prior to Christ­mas’’ for a price less than $ 10,000.

LG’s ri­val screen, the 55EM9700, will be priced sim­i­larly when it ar­rives, al­though that is not likely to be un­til next year due to world­wide de­mand, spokesman Ken Hong says.

The com­pany’s 55- inch screen is thin­ner than Sam­sung’s of­fer­ing, how­ever, at just 4mm, it is be­ing pro­moted as ‘‘ the world’s slimmest’’.

An­other big screen tech­nol­ogy from IFA, lit­er­ally, is the ul­tra- def­i­ni­tion screen that is the next step up from high- def­i­ni­tion TVs.

Boast­ing four times the res­o­lu­tion of their pre­de­ces­sor, its mak­ers say view­ers can sit twice as close to the screen, which is handy as the UD TVs are larger.

Sony un­veiled its 84- inch screen be­fore the show, only to be fol­lowed by Toshiba and joined by LG. Sam­sung also qui­etly showed off a 70- inch UD TV.

Sony says its first UD TV will go on sale be­fore the end of the year, but its price is likely to be higher than $ 25,000.

FU­TURE OF WIN­DOWS

Mi­crosoft did not at­tend IFA this year but its prod­ucts were not hard to find.

Com­puter mak­ers Dell, HP Sony, Sam­sung, Toshiba and ASUS all de­liv­ered Win­dows 8 com­put­ers, many of them hy­brid tablets that could do dou­ble- duty as lap­tops. Two of the new of­fer­ings de­liv­ered built- in key­boards that slide out from the tablet, for ex­am­ple. Both the Toshiba Satel­lite 925t and the Sony VAIO Duo 11 also fea­ture larger and longer than usual screens at 12 and 11 inches re­spec­tively, to make the most of Mi­crosoft’s new hor­i­zon­tal Live Tile dis­play.

HP, ASUS and Sam­sung took a dif­fer­ent route, how­ever, all re­leas­ing Win­dows 8 tablets that clip into key­board docks for flex­i­bil­ity.

The HP Envy X2, ASUS Vivo Tab and Sam­sung ATIV Smart PC pair large touch screens with full- size key­boards and more com­put­ing grunt.

The new breed of lap­tops will be­come avail­able af­ter Mi­crosoft of­fi­cially launches Win­dows 8 on Oc­to­ber 26.

HY­BRID CAM­ERAS

Sony and Pana­sonic both de­buted cam­eras with built- in wi- fi con­nec­tiv­ity for quick photo shar­ing, while Sam­sung took a step fur­ther and added a 4G con­nec­tion and pop­u­lar apps into its hy­brid shooter.

Sony’s new com­pact sys­tem cam­era, the NEX 5R, fea­tures a new 16- megapixel sen­sor and hy­brid aut­o­fo­cus mech­a­nism for ex­tra speed, but it also comes with builtin wi- fi and an app that lets users con­trol the cam­era from an Ap­ple or Google phone. Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son trav­elled to Ber­lin as a guest of Sam­sung.

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