Big choice: Size mat­ters

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH -

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.

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