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2021 TV Guide, New Brands, MinLED Technology, Price Rises

The TV business in Australia is set to take a new direction in 2021 with several new brands tipped to hit the market along with new TV technology designed to complement the Ultra High-Definition platform launched 4 years ago, 8K TV’s are set to be cheaper while smaller panel TV’s are set to cost more due to the rising price of LED panels.

Sharp is set to finally re-enter the Australian TV market with a range of premium and mid-market models, while European brand Loewe is set to double their share of the market after The Good Guys got behind the brand which will shortly introduce a We. By Loewe range that are among the most stylish TV’s we have seen from a European brand.

This week was supposed to be CES 2021 but instead we are set to get a virtual show with several brands already tipping their hand with the introduction of new
MiniLED TV’s from Samsung LG and later this year TCL.

In the US market TCL is a powerhouse TV which is why several Chinese brands have recently tried to discredit the brand claiming that their TVs running the Android OS “appear” and “could be used” to spy on users.

The rumour which appears to have been leaked by a rival has been dismissed by the global brand. Also, in the USA Hisense which is a popular Chinese brand in Australia was forced to buy the rights to the Toshiba TV brand because consumers rejected the brand because of poor quality and following claims by Sharp that their TV’s which at one stage were branded by Sharp as “shoddy” and “poor quality”.

The early battle at the premium end of the market will be around MicroLED technology. This is a new form of display technology that uses microscopic LEDs as individual pixels in the display panel, offering extremely high brightness and colour support some claims it’s as good as OLED, they are set to be significantly cheaper than an OLED TV.

In 2020 as consumers found themselves stuck at home demand for 75 to 85-inch big-screen TVs soared. The only problem now is stock levels.

The soaring in demand for TV’s has seen both Samsung and LG put on ice their decision to get out of the manufacturing of LCD panels. Instead, both Companies are now ramping up small screen LED production.

This is because second-tier TV brands focusing on small-to-medium screen size segments face mounting pressure of insufficient supply from panel makers in China who appear to be favouring Chinese brands.

As a result, panel makers such as LG and Samsung are shifting more of their capacity for IT panels to support ongoing stay-at-home activities and demand for 32″ monitors, larger notebook display screens soar.

The wholesale price for 32-inch TV panels have increased over 90% in the past seven months, reaching US$64 in December, and prices of 43-inch FHD and 55-inch UHD models have gained over 60% to US$113 and US$176, respectively claim analysts.

These price rises are now being passed on to retailers in Australia.

Meanwhile, quotes for 65- and 75-inch UHD panels have risen by 30% to US$230 and US$331, respectively, in December.

Analysts are claiming that second-tier TV brands will worsen in 2021 amid rising panel prices, insufficient panel supplies and diminishing market share.

This could see brands such as Eco JVC and Blaupunkt which are Chinese manufactured TV brands soar in price.

While 8K TVs are coming down in price COVID-19 has seen a massive reduction in 8K content such as movies and this has left TV brands pushing upscaling of content from 8K to 4K.

There is one possibility for those who want 33 million pixels of display content with the 2020 now 2021 Olympics set to be broadcast in 8K, that is if the games go ahead.

Recently the first 8K-capable graphics cards were released for gamers, however LG is facing a backlash with several reports suggesting that the latest firmware rolled out for their CX OLED TVs has resulted in a significant reduction in the game mode’s peak brightness.

According to multiple users of AVSforum, the recent update 03.21.09, which was supposed to deliver peak white in calibrated HDR Game mode now measures around 525 nits, having previously measured closer to 650 nits.

That equates to approaching a 20% reduction in the brightness of the lightest parts of an HDR game visual.

Some observers are claiming that 8K is already dead due to more people moving to streaming content and the need for higher data density to deliver 8K content which also chews up bandwidth.

According to the major TV players we will see more 8K models announced for 2021 than we did in 2020.

Software.

Recently Samsung rolled out a new free TV content service in Australia called TV Plus but what is coming in 2021 is improved voice assistant integration into a new generation of smart TVs.

LG Bauhn, Hitachi as well as Samsung and Sony, have all started offering built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, and we expect both voice assistance to play major roles in the smart TV landscape in the coming year.

Smart TVs from LG and Samsung now have a smart home capability allowing home devices such as security to be managed from the TV screen.

Samsung’s premium QLED 4K smart TVs should see a number of improvements, like Mini-LED backlight (not to be confused with MicroLED).

On the sound front we will also see major improvements in Object Tracking Sound and multi-speaker arrays to aimed at delivering better sound, especially audio which with a lot of content is drowned out by music and ambient soundtracks.

Samsung will introduce Q-Symphony, which lets you pair a Samsung soundbar with a Samsung TV and use all of the speakers in both to provide a larger, more immersive sound stage with better support for formats like Dolby Atmos.

TCL is set to launch new micro-LED backlight TV’s. Unlike traditional full array backlight, which uses standard LEDs to illuminate large blocks of an LCD panel, micro-LED uses much smaller diodes, increasing the number of dimming zones from a dozen to hundreds, which provide tighter backlight control and better contrast for LCD sets.

They are also set to launch new Android TV’s into the market.

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