After a 2015 which has accustomed us with evolved Smart TVs, and with 4K UHD resolution, along came 2016 and there will certainly be changes and development in this segment.
Let’s do a quick review of TVs in 2015.
Sony went with on Android, a popular operating system. So did Philips. Although it was believed to be optimal solution, Android Smart TV users have found that there are problems, not all applications are available and there are freeze instants plus errors.
Philips has suffered the most, the Android platform for their Smart TVs is far from what they desired it to be – update problems, lag, slow operating devices, etc.
Samsung went with Tizen, its own operating system. Although it’s not well known, Tizen has managed to impose on the market, having qualities as speed, popular applications made for this platform, and better stability than Android models.
LG have their own platform Web OS, taking it to 2.0 version, and this one brought the running speed desired by users and a much wider range of available applications.
Panasonic risked with Mozilla OS and it remains to be seen how popular this platform will become.
This step was necessary especially since we have new ways to use the SmartTv now, by the launching of services that until now were not available in certain countries – for example Netflix is available to most of European countries since a few days now.
Speaking on the TV side, Samsung has relied on curved and 4K TVs. Although those look good, curved TVs haven’t gained a large market share. Some of them have image problems, many models have image defects as ghosting or blurring (white shadows on black background, visible lighting in the corners too evident on black, etc.), even in the high end range. Some think that it’s just marketing.
Sony and Philips were almost entirely absent in this segment.
LG promoted OLED models that really bring a higher standard when talking about picture quality, unmatched even by Samsung SUHD.
However, there are problems here, the life span of the OLED panel is much lower, and the prices are high enough to drive away many buyers. 3-D was kept only for the high end range and is no longer available on entry or middle range models.
Will it be better in 2016?
Perhaps manufacturers will focus heavily on Smart TVs and their connectivity with various gadgets. We will see a major evolution of Smart TVs, improved software and enhanced compatibility with smartphones, online services and other features.
Speaking of image, here too there will be progress.
LG launched the second generation of OLEDs that promises a much higher lifespan of the panel, but must cut down price also, in order to secure a share of the market.
Samsung will further promote SUHD, probably introducing the technology on more models from the medium and low range.
Philips will have to bring something as good regarding the image on their TVs and maybe to come up with improvements to existing technologies (Ambilight, etc.).
Sony has no strategy, relying on the same classical needs – top image, clear sound, etc. They’ll still need to innovate in this year when competition is fierce in this segment, the users search for something really new.
Panasonic will keep up, but they need to bring this brand back into the spotlight.