How HDTVs will look in 2010 and beyond
Now that CES 2009 has finished, we have more of an idea of what’s in store for HDTV in 2009. Better still, several distinct new trends were on display, which point to the future of HDTV. We round up those trends in this article to give a revealing glimpse of what you can expect from HDTV in the next few coming .
1). High quality, low prices
HDTV has been around for some years now, but it’s only recently that the price of HDTVs has started to fall. In 2008, though, the price literally crashed. Every sector of the market saw prices plummet, which not only made HDTV affordable for many more people, it also enabled quality HDTV technology to trickle down even to the budget end of the market.
HDTV is a tricky beast. There are so many different factors that can make an “HD-ready” TV set look worse than the analogue set it was designed to replace, and many of the budget sets were horrors.
No more, though. With prices so low across the board, the technology has improved so that by 2010, virtually all HDTV sets should be of the same quality as the top-end sets from 2007, regardless of their price.
Size continues to be a somewhat odd fascination with HDTV. Sharp retains the crown for the world’s largest LCD TV at over 100″, and you can bet that manufacturers will continue to try to beat this throughout the coming years, but really there’s a limit on how big you make a TV. Not a physical limit in terms of the technology, but a physical limit involving people’s living rooms!
If you build a TV that’s bigger than most people’s rooms, you’ve just shrunk your market significantly!
Which is why most manufacturers are focusing on another dimension now – thickness, or to be more precise, thinness. The race seems to be on to see who can make their TV the thinnest, with some screens being sold that are thinner than a mobile phone (less than 6mm in some cases!).
Again, this has its limits – thin screens are more easy to break, and who cares whether a screen is 5mm thin or 4mm thin – it’s still thin!
What it means for 2010 and beyond, though, is that the average thickness of HDTVs will shrink, while the price of the super-sized screens will come down.
3). Wireless HDTV
This is a nice new trend that was evident from several manufacturers at CES 2009. Wireless HDTV. Effectively, the technology splits the TV into two units, one (a Set Top Box) for managing the HD signal, and the other (the screen) for displaying it.
The result it that you can put your STB close to where HD connector is,while the screen itself can be placed wherever you want it – and with no unsightly wires feeding inot either.
Better still, new laptops will also support wireless HDTV, meaninig you can transmit your laptop’s display onto your super huge, super thin HDTV. No laptop screen = much longer battery life (and cheaper laptop, too!)
4). Internet TV
One of the strongest new trends at CES was the integration of Internet TV. Virtually all manufacturers had new TVs on show that had built-in Internet connectivity and support for several Web-based services, including YouTube, Flickr,Yahoo! and NetFlix.
The age of browsing the Web on your HDTV, having a movie streamed over the Internet in real time, or just browsing videos and pictures from YouTube and Flickr without firing up your PC,is very nearly here.
After being talked about for so long, Internet TV looks set to break through into the mainstream – and it’s Yahoo!, of all companies who looks set to be the pioneers in this space.
5). Green TVs
It had to happen – the green lobby got at HDTVs, not, I suspect, because they’re profligate consumers of power, but simply because they’re seen as expensive status items, and therefore easy fodder for the neo-hippies of the militant green movement.
The result is that more and more HDTV companies are releasing new models with green credentials. Some of them use less power, some fo them have fancy standby modes that use virtually no power, while others are using sensors to detect whether anyone’s actually watching them and then switching off if no-one’s in the room.
This last feature sounds like a nightmare – I like my TV on when I’m cooking, as I can keep up with whatever programme’s on while making dinner. My kitchen isn’t in my living room, though, so a TV with this feature would just keep turning itself off whenever my back was turned!
Sneaky and pointless!
So there we have it – the future of HDTV (well, at least for the next couple of years). HDTV has finally broken free of its commodity business model, with new sets focusing more on features and adding real value to the home, rather than just endlessly trying to create blacker blacks!
What I like about the new emerging trends is that they take TV away from its existing model of one box chained to the nearest aerial socket, and towards a completely new future that sees the TV as a window onto a connected world, free to move wherever it’s needed.
With its new Internet connectivity, wirelessness and super-slim size, the TV of the future will be connect to any device, present images from any device anywhere in the world, and be placed anywhere in the room. The line between TV screen and PC screen will become blurred, as one HDTV screen will do both.
The way we use our TVs, and the way we use the Web and live our lives, will slowly change forever. The future of HDTV is bright indeed.
[Source: Light Reading]