Big choice: Size matters
WITH consumers no longer satisfied watching a meagre 40- inch display, manufacturers are responding to demand by producing screens as large as 100 inches – with some offering 4K Ultra HD resolution to ensure images stay crisp despite huge canvases.
But TV makers are split over which technology is best when it comes to the biggest screens.
LG is backing a laser display using a shortthrow projector, Samsung is preparing an expensive 4K TV for those who need the biggest screen in the neighbourhood, and Sony will this month deliver smaller, more affordable 4K TVs to Australian consumers for the first time.
But while Sony contends 4K is the future of TV formats, there are few ways to access native content for these TVs, leaving consumers with a difficult choice.
Despite disagreements over price and format, all manufacturers agree Australian TV sizes are growing.
“What was once considered a large- screen TV may have been a 40- inch, however, now we are seeing 55- inch TVs becoming the norm,” Samsung Electronics Australia audio visual director Brad Wright said.
“We’ve seen a growing demand for larger screen sizes as home entertaining becomes less of an occasion and a much more prominent part of our everyday lives.”
Sony Australia home entertainment marketing manager Hass Mahdi agreed, saying more than
Australia’s insatiable appetite for big- screen TVs is being taken to the next level, writes
Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson.
40 per cent of TVs sold in Australia are at least 55 inches.
Mahdi said the new size demands, which have changed from an average of 46 inches just 18 months ago, are because of Australia’s love for new technology and larger houses.
“There has been a conception the US has the largest house sizes in the world, but we have bigger houses and more land,” he said.
“There’s also something about the Australian psyche that says we need to have the best technology.”
LG is responding to those demands by producing a 100- inch, full- HD display for $ 8999.
The unusual device uses a short- throw projector with 36 laser diodes that can sit on the ground just 56cm away from the screen.
LG marketing general manager Lambro Skropidis said the laser display delivered an “extra- large screen viewing experience – an experience we know there is a huge demand for”.
Meanwhile, Sony is betting on 4K TVs, which offer four times the resolution of current full high- definition screens.
In addition to a $ 25,000 84- inch model launched last year, Sony will this month deliver 65- inch and 55- inch 4K TVs at $ 8999 and $ 5999, respectively.
Mahdi said the new models meet size demands while the lower prices put them in the “ballpark” for consumers who are simply upgrading TVs and are not necessarily early adopters.
Samsung also launched a 4K TV in May, though the 85- inch screen is priced at $ 40,000 and not widely available.
While Mahdi said there was “absolutely no doubt 4K is the next transition in the TV- viewing experience”, early buyers may have trouble accessing 4K content.
Both Sony and Samsung’s 4K TVs will upscale existing full HD content to suit a 4K screen, but there are no disc formats nor broadcasts available to deliver 4K content.
NBN media general manager Landry Fevre said discussions were already under way to use the fibre- to- the- home network to deliver the data- intensive content demanded by this new technology.
European trials have proven 4K content needs a connection of at least 20 to 25 megabits per second to reliably deliver 4K content, he said, but added it was “quite a complex endeavour”.
“It’s slow- going but in 10 years, when we have premises connected with fibre, the Australian population will have access to this,” he said.