CES 2013: Sony Unveils First 4K-OLED TV Hybrid, But Will Consumers Buy It?
Ultra HD TVs aren't new, but they're being marketed more than ever before. The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is chock full of new televisions, many of which are sporting the new 4K technology commonly referred to as Ultra TVs. There are also several large-scale OLED screens, which are some of the other most popular devices on the planet. In an effort to stand out among all other new TV consoles, Sony combined a 4K Ultra TV with an OLED television.
Despite having an excellent product to unveil, Sony's presentation fell flat. When Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai stepped out to present the new television's incredibly sharp display, something went wrong. The TV began showing a Microsoft Windows error message—not exactly a new problem to occur during a major presentation.
Mr. Hirai, being a noted and seasoned public speaker, reportedly moved past the small technological flub by making a short quip. The Wall Street Journal reports that the TV prototype "loomed like a corpse next to the CEO."
Mashable was a little more forgiving about the Sony presentation. Although the blog mentions the "screen that resembled Windows' 'blue screen of death,'" it notes that the television prototypes that were working fine looked great. "The model in Sony's floor display was working fine, though, and to our eyes the picture looked amazing. OLED screens will need to get bigger for it to be a real showstopper, though," wrote Pete Pachal of Mashable.
Mr. Hirai took time to desecrate South Korean competitors Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. just before the television presentation was ruined. Hirai chastised his South Korean rivals' ability to launch large-sized OLED television models on time.
The Sony TV that mixes 4K and OLED technology still doesn't have a name, price or a release date, so consumers should keep in their expectations in check. Sony showed at least two prototypes at CES, so there's a strong chance that Sony will be releasing a series of the television sets in the near future. Whether Sony is able to make an impact on the television market with new, sharper televisions remains to be seen. We tend to think that without any emphasis "web-enabled" technology, Sony is running the risk of falling behind.
The Telvision Industry Is Ripe For Disruption
As television manufacturers race to pack more pixels into screens and slim down casings, Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Apple are focused on creating ways to seamlessly allowing web browsing and video streaming in the living room. While Google hasn't been very coy about its intentions to disrupt the television industry, Apple has been less willing to talk about the company's interest in disrupting the television industry.
Google partnered with several companys to debut new Google TV set-top-boxes and television sets at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Among the many big Google TV announcements, LG stated its intention to expand its Google TV line of products with seven addition models. The sets range from 42 to 60 inches and features vary from having Wi-Fi support to being 3D capable. Google also announced its partnership with Asus to build the Google TV-powered Qube, which is a set-top-box that supports Google Play and comes with 50GB of cloud storage space.
Apple has been suspected to be working on an Apple television set—not to be confused with the Apple TV set-top-box—that has been dubbed "iTV." The fabled iTV is said to be Steve Jobs' magnum opus as a leader at Apple, and it's a product that he worked diligently on perfecting.
"[Steve Jobs] very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant," wrote Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson.
Isaacson continued: "'I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,' he told me. 'It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.' No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. 'It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'"
With so many companies locked in on the television industry—whether they're promoting "smart" television sets or 3D capabilities or more—it will be interesting to see how Sony's 4K OLED TV project pans out. There's definitely an appetite for sharp televisions among global consumers, but the it remains to be seen whether sharp displays will be enough to lure huge segments of the television consumer market.
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