Some market observers speculate TVs are increasingly becoming a thing of the past, as the use of devices such as tablets, smartphones computers and even Full HD projectors are becoming more integrated into consumers' everyday TV content viewing habits.
The use of mobile devices to view TV programs or movies in mature economies such as the US has become an inseparable part of peoples' lives, and consumers there are even likely to view content with multiple devices, research firm Collective found in a recent study among US-based consumers. People seem to be on the go more than ever within the US and are seeking platforms that will give them an option to view their desired content wherever and whenever. But does this mean such consumers are willing to give up their larger-size viewing formats such as TVs?
Global TV shipments are only expected to grow over 5% on year during 2013, down drastically from over 41% growth on year back in 2010, while tablet shipments may reach as high as 180 million units during the year, noted Digitimes Research. The TV growth is expected to come largely from emerging markets such as China, while tablet growth is expected to occur globally.
The attitude from TV vendors, however, seems to be more optimistic, and the vendors feel there is a lot of potential for developing high-resolution smart TVs in mature economies. According to research firm IHS, more than one of every four TV sets shipped worldwide in 2012 was a smart TV, with the rapid sales growth of these Internet-connected sets paving the way for them to account for more than half of the market by 2015. These statistics seem to indicate that growth in the smart TV segment within mature economies at large will come from consumers who are looking to obtain the features they have on their mobile devices and view them on larger-screen formats. But will the TVs with such smart value-added features be enough? It seems there will have to be another factor pushing TV sales throughout 2013 and beyond - increased resolution.
TV vendors are going to be heavily reliant on panel makers in the future to provide cutting-edge technology such as OLED and Ultra HD (4K or 3,840 by 2,160) panels that are affordably priced in order to draw consumers back to their living room viewing formats, as the ultra-high resolution viewing formats will be the TV's only other selling point aside from their increasingly larger sizes. Unfortunately though the panel makers are not expected to be able to drop the costs of those technologies similar to those of LCD for at least a couple of years, which will produce high costs for the TV vendors and thus most likely cause less-than-better TV sales throughout 2013. The TV vendors hope the panel makers can expedite the process for lowering technology costs, but this is an expensive burden the panel makers face and therefore TV vendors may not want to put all their eggs into one basket.
TV vendors should start looking at how Sharp and Foxconn Electronics have begun forming alliances in order to keep down costs, stay competitive and have ample supply chain resources. The two companies also released their TV products in conjunction with some telecom providers in order to make up for lower prices, which have proven successful for them in that they were able to generate revenues.
Additionally, and this may be a long shot, TV vendors may want to also consider whether they can use paper-thin flexible displays that have bendable features for their units in order to give consumers more portable options for the TVs. The screens themselves could act as solely a platform for viewing direct content via a portable set-top box (STB) that connects via a wireless Internet connection or could act as a screen in which the content is transmitted from consumers' portable devices, allowing the consumers to place their TVs in their desired place. If such possibilities are not considered, those weary TV market observers may be onto something and TV vendors may see unprecedented declines in sales in the future.