Curved and UHD the buzz for Berlin

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Curved and UHD the buzz for Berlin

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Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics will compete for the global premium TV market in the second half of the year with product launches at IFA Berlin starting Sept. 5.

The emphasis will be on ultra high-definition (UHD) and curved TVs.

Despite the 120 million won ($118,000) price tag of 105-inch curved UHD TVs offered by both Samsung and LG, demand for premium TVs is increasing.

The Taiwanese market research firm Digitimes Research estimates UHD TV shipments will increase to 68.2 million units in 2017 from 1.5 million units last year.

Samsung Electronics said it will start selling its 105-inch curved UHD TV in major European markets like Germany, France and England after introducing it at the IFA next month. LG Electronics also will introduce its 105-inch curved UHD TV at the consumer electronics show.

Not only do the TVs have the same price, but they also have the same size - 21:9 ratio screens with resolution that is five times higher than full HD at 11.06 megapixels. And they both use the liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.

The difference is that Samsung uses so-called peak illuminator technology, which allows viewers to distinguish even subtle differences in brightness.

LG’s 105-inch curved UHD TV stands out for its 7.2 channel sound system by Harman Kardon, the world’s largest supplier of premium-brand audio equipment.

From the second half of this year, LG’s curved UHD TV will be launched in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. In addition to curved TVs, LG will launch curved monitors for computers.

While the two companies have the same goal of dominating and leading the premium TV market, their strategies differ. Samsung will focus on curved TVs, but will use LCD panels with lower resolutions for some TVs to keep prices competitive. The result is a line of curved full HD TVs priced between 2 million won to 3 million won.

LG Electronics plans to showcase its superior technology by launching the OLED (organic light emitting diode) curved UHD TV along with the LCD curved UHD TV.

OLED panels do not need a separate light source and are more suitable for curved TVs than LCD panels, said LG Electronics.

LG will launch the curved UHD OLED TV in 64-inch and 77-inch sizes in the domestic market on Monday, the first release of an OLED TV with ultra high definition.

Prices of OLED TVs are easing as the production yield of OLED TVs stabilizes. LG Electronics has lowered its 55-inch curved OLED TV to 3.38 million won, 80 percent below last year’s price.

“The major competition will be ultra high-definition LCD TVs, but OLED TVs will become popular next year,” said a spokesman for LG Electronics.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics said yesterday it will exhibit a variety of new smart TV content at IFA 2014.

It will introduce the globally popular racing game Need for Speed and sports games Real Football and Golf Star for free on its Smart TV game panel. Users can download an application from the Samsung Smart TV game panel at no charge.

In addition, Samsung also will release an upgraded version of Skype, allowing video conference calls in full HD resolution on smart TVs.

These services are available with the 2014 smart TVs and will be provided for free in Europe, Korea and the United States.

BY LEE SO-AH, KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]










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