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Television Next In Line For Industry-Wide Shakeup?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the making-the-idiot-box-relevant-again dept.

Displays 381

New submitter pjlehtim writes "In a recent interview. Samsung's AV product manager, Chris Moseley, said, 'TVs are ultimately about picture quality. ... and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality.' Sounds familiar? There must be a change in the perceived role of television in the entertainment ecosystem before the general public starts to care about the smart TVs manufacturers are trying to push. That change is likely to come from outside the traditional home entertainment industry. It's not about technology; it is about user experience, again."

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"Smart" TVs? (4, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038711)

..yeah, no thanks. All I want or need is something that displays a 1080p signal well, and isn't going to break down and need to be replaced in a couple years. You can keep your so-called "smart", your "3D", and all your other silly bells and whistles. I'll stick to something that is quality, and if I need some "smarts" beyond what TiVo can do for me, I'll add an HTPC.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (4, Interesting)

revscat (35618) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038899)

I dunno. I have an HTPC and it's kinda a pain in the ass. If Apple can come out with a TV that has a built-in HD, a decent OS, and Siri, that could very well be the sweet spot for a lot of people, including me. "Siri, I'd like to watch the latest episode of Venture Brothers." Boom. Off ya go.

Now, what WILL be annoying is if their TV is iOS based.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (5, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039069)

"You said you would like to watch the latest episode of penis brothers. Season 5 episode 3 starting now. According to your preferences, your choice has automatically been posted on Facebook."

Get an iMac (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039093)

If Apple can come out with a TV that has a built-in HD, a decent OS, and Siri, that could very well be the sweet spot for a lot of people

An iMac meets those requirements except Siri, and once the novelty of the iPhone 4S runs out, I fully expect Apple to make a Mac version of Siri.

Now, what WILL be annoying is if their TV is iOS based.

The Apple TV 2 runs a customized iOS. Expect Apple's rumored offering, should it come out, to be not unlike an Apple monitor with a built-in Apple TV 2.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039321)

But why does that have to be *in* the TV? If all it does is display a video signal at as high of quality as possible, it can last for many years. If you stick a bunch of apps in it, inevitably the CPU or RAM become inadequate, it doesn't have the latest codec support, manufacturers stop supporting the software, whatever. If you keep it separate the display from the "computer" you can replace the latter every year or two and it's no big deal. (note the AppleTV is $100 and an iPad is $500+)

I have gone through at least 3 computers over the lifespan of my 21" LCD monitor (which I still have and love). If I had to pay for a new display every time I upgraded to something that ran the latest games, apps, etc, I'd be really annoyed. Same thing for the 60" plasma I bought last year.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (5, Insightful)

slaker (53818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038915)

The article is right about a couple things: TV UIs suck and remotes suck even more.

My mom can't operate a modern TV. I mean like not AT ALL. If it's anything more challenging than volume up or down, it's too much. She doesn't get it.
There's a bunch of stuff we plug in and want to use now - DLNA clients, DVRs, Home Theater receivers, cable boxes, game machines - and it all works differently and needs some stupid or weird different control, both on-screen and in terms of the control device. The revolution will be the people who make some kind of master overlay and master remote (I love my Harmony but it doesn't go far enough) that handles everything.

Maybe that means a mic or a kinect that lets us talk or gesture. Maybe it means having a little display on a tablet. I don't know. I just know that what we have now is a huge mess.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039075)

Seriously. I have a modern highend Panasonic plasma. The UI for simple tasks is tolerable, complex tasks are atrocious. I was using a recent high end Sony TV with some XMB UI, even simple tasks were slow and unintuitive. How the average user enjoys these is beyond me.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039149)

Hell, I can't operate a modern TV, or at least figure out how the hell I'm supposed to use the remote to select a DTV subchannel. There's no "-" key so I end up punching in "14" waiting for it to decide to switch to 14, then pressing up a bunch of times until it gets around to changing to 14-4. 144 doesn't work.

And yes, I read the manual. It assumes that I ought to know how to punch in a channel on the remote.

There's a bunch of stuff we plug in and want to use now - DLNA clients, DVRs, Home Theater receivers, cable boxes, game machines

This is my mother's problem. She has exactly two things she wants to plug in: her Wii (with composite cables) and her ancient cable box (with composite cables). She got an awesome new TV and it has 4 HDMI ports and one combination composite/component port. I bought her an A/V switch and pressing A for Wii and B for Cable seems to be too much. I suspect that even if the TV had enough of the right kinds of ports, pressing the source button would be too much.

At least in my case I can remember which buttons to push to get whichever game console I feel like playing running.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039201)

Strangely enough, when I went to my parents house last Christmas they had bought a new sound system, tv, blu ray player and had somehow for the first time managed to hook everything up themselves. They even managed to program the remote control to do control everything: the sound, tv, satellite receiver, and blu ray player. So I'd say it's getting easier to set these things up. I will admit that this was mostly due to the sound system having a setup phase that tells you step by step how to connect everything and what cable to use. But that's still a lot easier than having to read the manual for every piece of equipment.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039311)

Most of that is user-imposed complication, though, which is very difficult for some company to take on as a market and resolve with a product or service -- the list of things to add, or brands to support, leads to huge complications. Personally, I think most of this is resolved by personal computers; my laptop does 80% of what your complicated set-up does, it even does some things better, and is much simpler to operate.
 
The big industry wide shake-up for TV that is needed is for Nielsen ratings to be 86'ed. Considering the youth demo is the most prized one, you'd think a ratings system would account for people watching shows online, or people who don't have a landline (which is as foreign to most people my age as eight-track cassettes).

Re:"Smart" TVs? (4, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039351)

> Maybe that means a mic or a kinect that lets us talk or gesture. Maybe it means having a little display on a tablet. I don't know. I just know that what we have now is a huge mess.

I work for a company that is working on the next-gen UI for TVs.

There is a reason that mic's or gestures will never become popular.

They are _invisible_ interfaces.

How is a user supposed to know what the different gestures are? Or what the _available_ voice commands are?

Mic's will never work because they fail on this usage case: If you have an accent the software is fucked.

WIMP (Windows, Image, Mouse/Menu, Pointer) and Keyboards work because you get immediate feedback plus you can directly see the effects of pushing a button, dragging, clicking a menu item, etc.

Tablets? Now I could see that as a possibility.

5 remotes (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039441)

You're spot on. At a friends place 5 remotes to operate a modern TV system. The screen, the dvd, the pvr, the dolby and there was something else but I have no idea what the hell it was.

WTF?

All so I can watch complete crap interrupted every 5 minutes for god damned adverts? Why would I bother to do that? I personally no longer have a TV.

Her Scott Gillan (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039485)

My mom can't operate a modern TV. [..] The revolution will be the people who make some kind of master overlay and master remote

The television will not be revolutionised, brother.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (2)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038951)

Hey, if you are happy being either restricted by a lame antenna or tied up to a greedy powerhungry cable company, more power to you. I want my smart TV with a-la-carta programming and on demand shows without restrictive itineraries, and I will gladly pay a bit extra for it (as long as the advantages pay for themselves in a 2 year span.)

Re:"Smart" TVs? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039097)

Hey, if you are happy being either restricted by a lame antenna or tied up to a greedy powerhungry cable company, more power to you. I want my smart TV with a-la-carta programming and on demand shows without restrictive itineraries, and I will gladly pay a bit extra for it (as long as the advantages pay for themselves in a 2 year span.)

Keep dreaming about a-la-carte. Content creators won't allow it.

The future is every fucking network having their own fucking store and their own fucking on demand service. The costs for this are so low that there's absolutely no reason to ride on the back of Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix, or anyone else for your new content. All the "old" content (x-weeks after first air date) will of course be available on every fucking store.

Cable providers will simply bundle and resell subscriptions to these services (along with the live channel feeds) at a "discount" (compared to buying them individually, not compared to actual value for what you use), and link your Comcast/Charter/Cox account to your HBO GO/etc. accounts seamlessly.

And you sports fans will still have to deal with blackouts.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039117)

Hey, if you are happy with a lame smart TV and all the DRM that will inevitably come with it, more power to you. I want my content exactly how I've always got it, and I'm willing to pay for it. EXCEPT nobody has got it right yet, and they never will, so I'll just take it for free.

If you're willing to give up... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039135)

If you're willing to give up live news, live sports, major-studio feature films, and major-studio television series, you can get TVs supporting YouTube today.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039301)

lame antenna

That almost got me to login so I could mod you down. (just too lazy)

Re:"Smart" TVs? (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039029)

PCs are smart and work for you.
TVs will become smart and work against you.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039141)

Your parents are dumb, and work for you.
The government is dumb, and works against you.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (1)

zieroh (307208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039395)

You sound a lot like the slashdotters of yesteryear who insisted (vociferously) that all they wanted was a phone that made phone calls.

This too shall pass.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039457)

"..yeah, no thanks. All I want or need is something that displays a 1080p signal well,"

Why? If all you watch are the most recent Movies on BluRay, then I can understand that. but ALL cableTV and ALL satellite TV is 720P heavy compressed. I dont care what your settings on the receiver are, the signal is 720p and will stay that way for a very long time.

Everyone pines for 1080p but very few have seen 1080p content that is crisp and at a viewing distance where they can actually tell the difference.

If you know your source material, and you sit close enough to see it, Awesome for you! I also chased the 1080p dragon for my theater and succeeded. You will not find ANYTHING that will be a decent quality 1080p from a streaming service within the next 5 years. You just dont have the bandwidth.

I instead made my own. XBMC with a server in the basement that has 5 1tb drives in it. I rip the bluray discs to the server and use XBMC to play them back. XBMC will do a AC3 passthrough as well as HD audio passthrough toslink to the receiver that will recreate the audio perfectly. My theater with VOD system I have in my media center was in total $12,500 excluding the walls, sound control and seating.

If you want really good 1080p you are going to not only pay for it, but do it all yourself.

Re:"Smart" TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039467)

Good point. TVs are smart enough as it is. For the hardware itself, a current generation LCD, LED, or plasma screen has few if any issues. Display quality shouldn't be a problem with the actual physical TV.

The real problem that needs a lot of work is with the service providers. It doesn't help that the screen supports 1080p when the cable box doesn't. And surround sound and HD don't mean much when the cable companies compress the shit out of it such that what you get is of lesser quality than an over-the-air signal or even a DVD. (And I'm not talking Blu-ray here.) Fix that and make an effort to comply with some baseline standard for quality, and perhaps there will be more interest in what newer sets may offer.

Oh and there's still the content issue. The internet tends to be much better that way when it comes to variety at a reasonable cost. Shame the cable company can't make something like P2P actually work for them and use it to provide a better service for on-demand at a reduced cost, instead of fighting it all the time.

The man has a point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038717)

Samsung makes some of the highest quality displays around. And if anyone were to come out with something better, there's a pretty good chance it'd be ... Samsung.

Re:The man has a point. (0)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038745)

"PC's are ultimately about millions of instructions per second. ... and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on instructions per second."

Re:The man has a point. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038833)

That is still correct. What has changed is the weighting given to any given instruction. (In the Olde Dayes of Yore, it was sufficient to run a million lightweight instructions, such as ADD or MOV, and see how long it took. After caches started being added, benchmark programs that were any good simulated typical function sizes and typical arc lengths. These days, things are so complex that full applications are generally run from a known start point to a known end point.)

Re:The man has a point. (1)

shic (309152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038947)

Perhaps... I'm considering buying a replacement for my 2000-vintage 28" 4x3 ratio CRT TV. I'm not in a hurry as I rarely "watch TV".

I like the Samsungs - especially the ultra-thin 46" ones... with fast refresh and high-definition. Their biggest down-side is that they aren't competitively priced relative to other manufacturers - IMHO.

I am interested in a seamless way to use the TV to display what would be on my Laptop otherwise... I like the idea of watching internet video on a big screen... and I like the idea of lounging with a keyboard and having a full-PC environment on my wall... but I don't know if these will be mere gimmicks for me.

I don't care about 3D - but I do care about slimline high-resolution displays with great connectivity. Thereafter, for me, it's price, price, price.

Re:The man has a point. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039123)

The problem with Samsungs (and, I think all of the other TVs) is that the software sucks. I've got a 2(?) year old 42' Samsung. Nice TV but awful interface UI, terrible USB support, non existent documentation.

This is, as has been mentioned, where Apple could conceivably break in. Allow a non technical person to hook up a DVR or find a movie, get a remote without three hundred tiny little buttons with colored squiggles. Change inputs without looking at the Janglish manual. Lock people into iTunes. Make it hard to do anything not explicitly deemed appropriate by Apple. Die after an update....

Sigh. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It really did.

Pretty much any new TV can do that (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039183)

I am interested in a seamless way to use the TV to display what would be on my Laptop otherwise

Pretty much any new TV can do that. Many PCs have HDMI or DVI-D video outputs that plug right into an HDTV's HDMI input. Those that don't can use a VGA cable, as most HDTVs have a VGA input (except, I'm told, in Europe where TVs tend to have a SCART input instead of a VGA input). And until you replace your TV, you can go to SewellDirect.com and buy a PC to TV adapter that converts a VGA signal to an S-Video or composite signal.

Join the HTPC crowd. Indie filmmakers and indie video game developers will thank you.

User Experience? (4, Insightful)

Wansu (846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038741)

There ain't much on TV I care about except sports, weather and the occasional movie. The rest is crap.

Smart TV? for what? It's just more stuff that can break. I don't want some smart TV or cable box wigging out on me while the damn game is on.

Re:User Experience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038797)

Improvements in TV technology are like 3D movies in theaters - if the underlying content is crap, is seeing it in HD / 3D really something to cheer about?

Watch some old TV shows sometime. Shows that had a story or otherwise actually had some entertainment value. HD would not add to the experience one iota.

Re:User Experience? (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038965)

Watch some old TV shows sometime. Shows that had a story or otherwise actually had some entertainment value. HD would not add to the experience one iota.

Precisely the reason I still watch DVD instead of Blu-Ray. I have a Blu-Ray player, but I don't see the point in buying my movies over again, and around here, DVD releases are still cheaper than Blu-Ray. If it's worth owning, to me, then the content will be good enough that it won't matter if it's a lower resolution image. Besides which, they all get ripped to my hard drive and transcoded to a 1GB h.264 anyway, so there's literally no benefit to getting a Blu-Ray.

Re:User Experience? (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039147)

$5 DVD bin at WalMart FTW! :D Just gotta pay attention to the format - widescreen, fullscreen, etc.

Re:User Experience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038815)

Frontline isn't junk. And there are many other programs available to watch or not watch (the choice is yours) that are worthwhile.
I'm trying to understand the fascination with sports. OK, I can see watching the World Series and the Superbowl and regular season games now and then, but TV is already saturated with sports. What is it about sports and competition that draws viewers?

Re:User Experience? (2)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039017)

Frontline isn't perfect, either. They tend to pad material and repeat just like other shows. If you don't have an hour of content, just show what you have and cede the rest of your time for sports or something.

Re:User Experience? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038849)

(You're focusing on content, not user experience.)

A good example of that is TiVo. I'm not sure why TiVos haven't become ubiquitous (indequate marketing, wrong price points, bad business model?), but the different "user experience" of a TV that allows efffortless time-shifting and commercial-skipping seriously altered my approach to television for the better, and I would never go back to the old way of sitting down to watch TV live. If the right company put together something with the same kind of game-changing user experience, and without the factors that have apparently held back TiVo, it could have a serious impact on the TV market.

Re:User Experience? (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038967)

This is true, but I don't really need the TIVO to be actually built into the TV for that to be useful. In fact I might like my display from Samsung, my DVR from TIVO and my streaming video client from Apple. I don't want to pay for a bunch of stuff in my actual TV that I don't actually want.

Still, this might be the way it ends up going if they can use it to get people on a more aggressive upgrade cycle for their TVs.

Re:User Experience? (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039397)

I have mixed feelings about DVRs. I was all about them and 100% loved them when I first got one through the local cable company. No commercials and my shows when I want to watch them.

Then I realized that commercial breaks were perfect times for me to get up and do something, bathroom, laundry, snack, whatever, and they were gone. Soon I found myself pressured to watch everything that was recorded before it continued to pile up higher and higher.

At some point, I felt I was spending too much time and money due to my cable. I cancelled it and went to an OTA antenna. Now I have commercials that act to get me off the couch, and if I miss a show, I miss a show. Life goes on and the loss of that episode is no big deal.

My experience is that the DVR was a fantastic change to my TV viewing habits, but it brought with it it's own problems. I'd still have one now though, if it wasn't for that monthly bill for cable TV.

Re:User Experience? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038983)

Sports are crap too. It's just crap you happen to like.

Re:User Experience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039369)

iCarly is crap too. It's just crap I happen to like . . . I mean my kids! MY KIDS happen to like. Whew. That was a close one!

Re:User Experience? (2)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039109)

I've seen several comments like this on this thread. Has no one on /. (of all places) seen Game of Thrones its only the first season but possibly better than Lord of the Rings. Admitidly the vast majority of content sucks but there are some very select shows that are good.

Slashdot quote. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038743)

Here's today's slashdot quote.

>There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

Re:Slashdot quote. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039115)

Here's today's slashdot quote.

>There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

What about AIDS?

Re:Slashdot quote. (1)

smudj (1983234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039491)

airborne distribution?

Sounds like a cue for... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038751)

"It's not about technology; it is about user experience, again."

We know he was working on it, and this sounds like a cue for Steve Jobs' final "one more thing..."

Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038761)

I despise the word "ecosystem". It has begun to remind me of a prison, wonder why?

I haven't had a TV in 12 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038773)

But I do have a computer. You know what I'd like and pay for, a set amount to download, say 20 hours' of TV. Maybe I want to watch a Channel 4 show from the UK, a hockey game from Canada or a science program from Australia. I don't care about the licensing -- I'll pay but for goodness sake sort it.

Until then I'll ... umm... use ... (a) ... net.

The problem is resolution (2)

omganton (2554342) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038781)

It's about time we get 4k televisions in production. Screw 3d, screw smart tv, just increase the resolution already. My monitor has higher resolution than my hdtv.

Re:The problem is resolution (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038981)

Sadly, I don't think media production is ready for it. I'd be happy if 4k displays remained exotic or stuck at desktop PC sizes if it meant that 1080p were widespread all the way down to tablet size displays.

Re:The problem is resolution (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039171)

I just read that a rapidly increasing number of movie producers are moving to shooting in 4K. I expect a lot of that will be 3D 4K. Interestingly, the higher the resolution the better compression works.

Re:The problem is resolution (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039431)

That's the way it should be. Movie producers start building up the content library. Then it's easier to get the public to embrace 4k since there are actually things to watch in 4k.

Re:The problem is resolution (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039073)

What problem? Unless you've got a 32" TV you sit 18" from or a 65" TV you sit 4' from, you don't need anything over HD.

Don't get me wrong, I'll _take_ as much as you can give me for a reasonable price, but at that point it's just icing on the cake.

Now, when I've got a wall sized TV display than I site 10 feet from, I'll maybe want 4k resolution.

Re:The problem is resolution (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039265)

IMHO it depends on what you're doing with it. I'm running dual 1680x1050 (effectively 3360x1050 total) monitors on my workstation as I type this. If you want fine detail, the resolution really counts. I'm shopping for a new TV, and I will be using it for PC output at least as much as for TeeVee. I've been staring at flat screens at the stores, and from eight feet I can see quite a difference between the 46" and 55", even watching standard TV and movies. One less-obvious item I've noticed is that some 1080P screens don't have fast enough processors, so fast motion shows up as blocky and shifty (technical terms, there.) But the store demos rarely show anything that is very good at really testing the TVs, and when they do it's only on for a second so you can't compare and analyze.

Re:The problem is resolution (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039155)

It's about time we get 4k televisions in production. Screw 3d, screw smart tv, just increase the resolution already. My monitor has higher resolution than my hdtv.

Don't forget about color dept. 1677216 just isn't enough.
Absolutel no reason we shouldn't be at full on 16-bits per channel right now.

My 19", 4:3 monitor from 2002 had higher resolution than my HDTV does today.
Oh, and better picture quality and response times, too.

Re:The problem is resolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039173)

My monitor has the same effective resolution than "4k" TVs will (I'd lay money on them going with 3840x2160 -- my T221 is 3840x2400, same thing for 16:9 programming). And it's a decade old. (Not bragging, well, ok, bragging a little, but I promise there's a point coming.)

I used to be disappointed at the plateauing of display technology, then I realized the technology is there, it's just not being marketed to consumers. Which is not only even more infuriating, but it also means we're not one technical breakthrough (and a couple years development to market) away from seeing better displays.

I don't see anything coming that will stimulate manufacturers to offer high-resolution options; they're all at parity now, and the first one to move up is looking at steep prices for high-resolution panels due to small (current) volume -- which makes it hard to sell them, and as soon as they kick their marketing in gear, and get people to buy them, the other display manufacturers will benefit from the increased volume->lower price -- there's no reward for the one who takes the risk.

And then there's the whole content issue -- while movies are capable of 4k display (4k projectors are common in theatres), there's no distribution standard. Upgrading broadcast and cable TV requires existing 4k TVs with significant market penetration, so how do you sell a 4k TV with _nothing_ to watch on it at 4k? Again, this adds to the risk for the first guy -- once he's worked something out, everyone else can just pile on.

It sucks, but this is something I just can't get optimistic about. I think the widespread revival of 4k-give-or-take computer screens is 5-10 years out, and it won't come to TVs until well afterwards.

Television, depending upon your needs (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038803)

Picture quality? Maybe if you're into seeing the pancake makeup and ridiculous quantity of hair gel necessary to make your Sitcom/Soap stars look the way they do. Not going to really help animation at all, a little blur helps hide the sharp contrast of lines. Great for sports, so you can rest assured you're right when you call the ref an idiot for getting the call wrong, while you smugly watch the replays in High Def.

More likely going to find the user experience is more a la carte, as people leave the traditional broadcast, cable, and satellite networks for what they pick and choose over the internet (assuming ISPs don't kill the fledgling market with opressive fees for bandwidth, as IF my piddly 6 Mb/s connection should be considered taxing of their infrastructure. where's 100Mb/s?!?) I'd rather see my shows when it suits me, without even bothering with recording them on a DVR.

The TV itself could have the bits built in, but at the present rate of change I'd prefer an external box which I can upgrade as needed while the big investment, the display, is only bought every 5 or 10 years (or longer apart -- my only TV is really getting on in years, but still works.)

Re:Television, depending upon your needs (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038843)

I believe you have in fact nailed it shut. The reason TVs need to be smart is that people are preferring more and more to get their entertainment via the internet, not a broadcast medium. Hopefully one day we'll get working multicast and can combine the two, but you'll still need a smart device to consume the content. Like you, I prefer not to have the hardware built in. Since it goes behind the television there's not even any need for it to be a module, a cable is just fine.

Re:Television, depending upon your needs (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039305)

The newer, especially bigger & higher resolution, screens do a pretty large amount of signal processing to turn that old POS television show into visual gold. Among other things most hi-res screens are doing sophisticated upsampling to turn a 480P show into something that looks closer to a 1080P. Otherwise that I Love Lucy re-run would look like crap (although in actuality that's unfair - Lucille Ball insisted on filming her shows in 35MM, not videotape, which now means that her shows have much more visual quality that most shows of that era.)

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038809)

it is about user experience, again

It's not about picture quality. It's not about 'user experience', which is so vague as to be meaningless.

It is about cost. Cost is why Blu-ray fails. Cost is why 3D TV fails. Cost is why cable subscriptions are dropping [worldtvpc.com] . Cost is why Netflix, and all other forms of IPTV are thriving, except when providers try to increase cost, in which case they get kicked [cnn.com] in the teeth.

DVD to 720-ish quality is sufficient. The rest is cost.

Re:Wrong (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039045)

Cost is why Blu-ray fails.

Really? Blu-Ray discs seem cheap enough to me these days. I thought the reasons Blu-Ray wasn't taking off like DVD did were because:

  • o Everybody already bought the movies they like to see on DVD and they're not replacing DVDs with Blu-Rays
  • o Using Netflix is way more convenient than messing with discs all the time, even if they don't have all the content you want
  • o A large portion of the people who own a DVD player and a hi-def TV can't seem to figure out how to set the aspect ratio right on both, so image quality apparently isn't on their minds that much
  • o Half the time I hear people saying "that TV really sucks" these days, what they mean is that the TV is setup with the highest refresh rate and highest resolution possible, which makes even classic cinema look like cheap soap operas and totally ruins the experience
  • o I only know one person who owns a 3D TV and he admits he's never watched anything in 3D on it

No electronics industry exec will ever admit this in an interview, but the bottom line seems to be that all the things the electronics industry claims people are demanding from TVs are false. It doesn't have all that much to do with image quality. It has a lot more to do with convenience and cost/benefit (rather than pure cost) -- people just don't see the need for what's being shoved at them. What people want is low-end TVs that do Netflix and Hulu.

Re:Wrong (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039107)

At any given store, DVDs are about $15 for new stuff, while BluRay is about $25 for the same movie.

I have a 1080p TV, and I can barely see the difference between a BluRay and a DVD. It's just not worth the $10.

Talking his book (3, Informative)

theskipper (461997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038821)

Considering that Samsung currently owns 95% of the OLED display market, it's not surprising that he'd say that. Picture quality (and thinness) is going to be the primary driver for OLED replacing LCD in the TV and monitor markets.

Of course the real question how the price vs. adoption curve plays out. There's a shot at seeing sub-$5k sets when their 8G OLED lines are up to full production this year. LG's faux-OLED (i.e. WOLED stack) is waiting in the wings too. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Re:Talking his book (1)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039027)

Here in Britain electronics retailers have been being annoying by calling LCD panels that are lit with LEDs "LED TVs".
Do North American retailers do that?

Re:Talking his book (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039323)

Yep, all of them do that.

Re:Talking his book (1)

asavage (548758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039403)

They are usually listed as LED LCD.

Re:Talking his book (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039079)

Considering that Samsung currently owns 95% of the OLED display market, it's not surprising that he'd say that. Picture quality (and thinness) is going to be the primary driver for OLED replacing LCD in the TV and monitor markets.

I disagree... OLED having a significantly better picture quality will make a difference for some people, yes. Early adopters. What will make the difference is when they start being cheaper than LCD's, for the majority of the market. Even then, it'll still take a while for OLED's to completely supplant LCD's, because of attrition.

My computer monitor is an OLED display. It was very expensive, but it *does* have a very high quality picture. I will not, however, be replacing my TV until I need to take it out and shoot it. It's a 4-year old LG 42" 1080p display, and has 2 component video inputs, 3 HDMI, a VGA, and a DVI. I don't need any more than that, and the picture is plenty good enough for the type of content I watch.

Enthusiasts will want the best possible picture quality. Casual TV watchers don't care, as long as it works. Heck, I *support* an IPTV service for work, and we still have customers watching on 13" CRT displays with coax only for the input.

Re:Talking his book (2, Interesting)

theskipper (461997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039277)

What you have is LED backlit, not OLED. OLED is an emissive technology and is pretty much only in cellphones right now (the majority being Samsung produced with Universal Display Corp PHOLED chemicals). Displays of 15" and larger are expected in production quantities later this year, more realistically in 2013.

There are a lot of CES articles about the 55" I was referring to, here's a sample.
http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/09/samsung-55-inch-super-oled-tv-launch-ces-2012/ [engadget.com]

Not just about picture quality... (2)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038871)

...It's also about the [short] lifespan of OLED screens, currently at about 5 years if used for a straight 8 hours per day...much less than that of LCDs, which is close to twice that.

It is also about support for the device itself, when things go wrong as they will sometimes do. On this point, I salute Samsung for 'owning' any problems I have forwarded to them in the last 3 years.

The picture is the least important part (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038905)

TVs are ultimately about picture quality

Try this. Turn down your TV sound and try to work out what a programme is about. Now try the same with the sound audible and the picture blank (or just looking away). It's almost impossible to follow any programme without listening to the audio channel, but remove the video and little is lost (the exception is probably sports programmes, but for everything else it works).

Although the video component takes up the overwhelming amount of bandwidth - and cost both for production and TV set manufacture, it's the least important aspect of a programme.

The only thing that stops TV from being "radio with pictures" is the marketing of programmes, since this is ultimately where all the money is.

Re:The picture is the least important part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039087)

Try this.

Repeat your experiment with a video game.

Re:The picture is the least important part (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039463)

Wasn't so long ago we were playing games using machines which didn't have soundcards (ie business desktops)...
TV on the other hand is largely an evolution from radio.

Re:The picture is the least important part (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039095)

This is actually pretty true; when I'm drawing stuff on my PC, half the time I'll be running a TV show of some kind on the secondary monitor. I'm not watching it, but I'm listening to the audio and glancing over every so often.

And there was a stint when I was working outside (by "working", I mean "holding a sign for at least an hour at a time) where I'd just put movie audio from stuff like Lord of the Rings on my MP3 player. It's amazing how many nuances are in that audio track, and eventually I could follow the movie just going off the audio alone/music cues.

Re:The picture is the least important part (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039239)

An audience can be wowed with visual affects. So yes, the story is pretty much all audio, but the visuals are what add a wow factor.

Re:The picture is the least important part (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039315)

Um, porn?

This is about Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39038927)

Samsung is talking about Apple and that they can't beat them in picture quality. In the past this has been said about Apple as well.....

  ”There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, April 30, 2007

  ”We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” – Former Palm CEO Ed Colligan, November 16, 2006

Re:This is about Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039355)

Apple already tried to make a tv... look how that ended up... why would thistime be any diffrent

Persistent Slashdot Attitude (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038931)

It's quite memorable when people expect the status quo to remain relatively static and instead see it change suddenly. We all go back and point to the people who expected things to say the same and talk about how short sighted they were. However, just because that happens occasionally doesn't mean that an industry leader's expectation of no shakeup implies in any way that a shakeup is more likely. The shakeups just stick out in our minds when we reminisce.

If Apple says "we're going to release a smart taco, the iTaco" and Mexican food experts say it's stupid, I'm sure we'll have Slashdotters pointing out old quotes about the iPod and acting like success is inevitable.

Imagine youre in a meeting, and someone around the (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038941)

table uses the term 'user experience' ....

thats the point you burn with a fiery desire to get on top of the table, pull out your johnson and piss around on the faces of all participants. ..............

you sit in front of a tv, you click the remote, you watch the channel. that's what tv is. there is no more 'experience' in it. neither does a person coming home from work and dinner want an 'experience' to come out of their tv. they just want to click and watch.

same goes for oses. 'user experience'. what ? i just want to click on my program, and use it. i dont want any 'experience' happening in between.

hell, even internet. i have been on internet since it got out of the hen (1993-94), i have been on the first wave on everything ranging from multiplayer games to irc to webmaster culture to mmos, i have been an overclocker, and let me tell you :

when im on internet, i use at most 10 websites, play the same game, use the same software to do development, use the same instant messengers....... you get the picture.

im not looking for any 'experience'.

if someone like me, who has been riding the wave of adoption in digital age is like that, figure the rest of the population.

but for some reason, companies cant let go of that 'experience' illusion they are embroiled in.

i wonder, whether there is ANY person, who gets up from in front of a computer or television or any other ramped-up gadget and says, 'wow, this was a great xyz gadget using EXPERIENCE' - in any meaning of the term.

Re:Imagine youre in a meeting, and someone around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039131)

You're right! We should all go back to black and white 18" TVs with rabbit ears, betamax tapes, and corded remotes. There's no way that experience can ever be eclipsed. While I'm at it, I hope you're enjoying your dial up internet access into Compuserve's walled garden, on your 10 lb "toaster" sized portable PC with 90 minutes of battery life and the latest Windows 3.1 software. Guess what? You may not be looking for an "experience" but that's what you're getting, whether you realize it or not. You want to click your program and use it? Experience. You use an IM client? Experience. You click a remote? Experience.

Buh-Bye TV Makers (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038957)

Samsung and the likes can hawk their Smart-3D crap all they want.

When Apple release the SuperJumbo iPad -- err, iTV in the next year, with multi ARM processors, 1TB HDD Storage and the ability to remote control it with your existing iOS devices and run Apps in PIP-mode while watching movies, your run of the mill Flat panel displays will seem like the commodity display units they are.

Seriously though -- how can the likes of Samsung, Sharp or Sony Compete? Apple can deliver it's own streaming Movie and TV content via iTMS, they offer apps via the App Store, they allow any registered developer to make their own Apps and Games, they have iTunes installed on millions of machines, they have AirTunes that allow multi-room audio streaming, they have AirPort Express which helps facilitate AirTunes, they have Front Row which can turn any Apple Laptop or Desktop into a FullScreen media player. Essentially, you can have an iTV which allows you to Watch TV, stream movies, run apps, purchase new media, surf the web, broadcast music and media to other devices in other rooms all from one unit -- who cares about 3D when you have something that can essentially be a Media Hub and the family computer all in one?

The only market player I could see taking them on would be Google, but they don't have the media distribution channels -- they'd likely have to partner with Amazon since they already have the distribution deals and the infrastructure all set up. But, it would be a viable contender if they did come up with an Android based competitor to iTV that streamed and downloaded music and movies from Amazon and featured the App marketplace for both Google and Amazon.

No matter what though, TV is about to go through a pretty dramatic evolutionary period that will likely see the dumb-terminal relegated to a by-gone era.
Next stop: get rid of the fixed display completely and move it onto touch screen enabled surfaces like walls and windows.

Re:Buh-Bye TV Makers (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039101)

That's what's so amusing about Apple folks, they think Apple has secret sauce nobody else has. Other vendors have all of that stuff, literally none of it is unique to Apple except the trendy names.

Re:Buh-Bye TV Makers (2)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039137)

Content providers and cable co.s won't hand another market to Apple (or Google). That lesson was learned with music.

Re:Buh-Bye TV Makers (1, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039191)

Wow. You really chugged down all of that Kool-Aid in one gulp.

You feel OK? A little dizzy or anything?

Sounds like a job for Apple (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038973)

However, everything Apple did so far to skyrocket as it did was for portable devices.

So what are we talking here? A TV running iOS with integrated DVR and using some sort of next gen cable card? What will be the big hook? It needs more than integration with other Apple devices, although we can probably expect teleconferencing with face time (hello boardrooms of America) and streaming to iPad/iphones.

Being subscription services, cable companies will jump at the chance of exclusivity contracts and give in to Apple's demands and needs like compatibility with a better cablecard type system.

Watch for Verizon Fios winning this one. /end speculation

Re:Sounds like a job for Apple (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039051)

Oh, and the integration will be two way: no more separate stereo system, you can play you iPhone music to the TV.

Watch for an add with the spaghetti monster as a tangle of wires while an Apple logo shaped PAC Man chases after it while Justin Long is eating John Hodgman's meatballs allowing the monster to be destroyed. Okay, that may be a little too far out there.

Conflict of interest in high broadband speeds? (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39038985)

I like many people get "high" speed internet from Comcast. If Comcast updated their Internet with modern tech, we could stream television on computers. Then people would drop their cable subscriptions. So why does Comcast want to increase the broadband speeds when it will hurt their profits?

It is sad you need to hope for Google to do their 1gb/s because the current ISP behemoths don't want to move.

Re:Conflict of interest in high broadband speeds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039275)

It is sad you need to hope for Google to do their 1gb/s because the current ISP behemoths don't want to move.

And FURTHER hope that the current ISP behemoths don't do everything in their power to STOP Google from doing just that.

That's considerably hopeless, but still.

tele.. what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039007)

Television - What was that then grandad.

Programs when you don't want them with crap firmwares, broken by design, that miss the start and end of the program and force the adverts on you.

When you step back into a household that plays the watching tv and timeshift games its quite a culture shock for an Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television.

I just want a dumb monitor. (3, Insightful)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039043)

Smart TVs are nice for things like streaming for a secondary TV, in a bedroom or basement, where you dont want a bunch of boxes and cables, but for my living room... i have a cable box, i have a game console, i have a networked dvd player. The TV is ONLY a display. This is one place where with some technologies moving as fast as they are, convergence is a bad thing. If some new streaming service comes out, i can reasonably assume theyll have a PS3 app. Depending on how proprietary things are they may not have an app for a smart TV even a few years old. Heck, i dont even need the main TV in the home theater to have speakers, i just want a big dumb good quality monitor with a digital video input. Let my receiver handle all the AV stuff and one or two boxes handle TV and recorded media.

Convergence has its place, its nice having a camera in my phone in my pocket all the time, but i dont want a cheap, prone to mechanical failure, blu-ray player or cheap PC that no one will make software for in 9 months stuck on the side of my nice high end tv.

Hardware is less an issue... (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039055)

... than being charged for 200+ channels I will never watch.

Keep the TV, change the gadgets and services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039071)

The problem with "smart TVs" is that the smart part of it is changing vastly more quickly than the TV part. The display is relatively mature tech that most customers regard as an expensive piece of furniture that they want to keep for years. Gadgets such as game consoles and set top boxes are getting overhauled as often as smartphones. Every aspect of their technology can change as the performance, capacity, connectivity, user interface and basic purpose of the device can radically change every few months. You don't want to throw out your perfectly working display because one chip became outdated or even because the UI changed from a bluetooth remote to a motion sensing camera. The part most people like least about TV is paying for a cable subscription full of unwanted channels and shows, but that's already being dealt with as much as possible by iTunes, Netflix and Amazon Video Marketplace.

So in a sense, Samsung is right. The display is all people really want from a TV. Everything else should be in external devices, even if their functions and purposes are changing radically and rapidly. Unfortunately for Samsung, displays are a low-margin commodity market and not where the action now is.

The challenge of television (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039077)

Old, established companies will claim that old, established standards are best - until they devise a new product.
New companies and old ones with new products will claim that new standards are best.
The consumers -- the ones actually USING the product -- don't get to say what it is they need or want. Rather, they are told what they should need and want.

The intelligent consumers (all three of them) should ignore what the companies are saying and should define metrics in terms of value. One option would use zero as no product and 1 as being the absolute baseline requirement for that parameter. All metrics should be non-linear and should either tend to a limit, following the law of diminishing returns, or it should reach a peak and then fall off to zero. (You can't always say for certain what the limit should be, but you can guess. The best vision and best hearing are still finite quantities, for example, and no matter how good 3D pictures become, no person will need a 5D display for a very long time.)

A second option would be to do something similar but instead of defining the baseline requirement, define the maximum instead (let's say 100). The current baseline requirement can then be marked on the curve, together with where the product ranks.

Functionally, these two are the same. The difference is that one is scaled according to how usable the product is in relation to actual need, the second according to how usable the product is in relation to theoretical limits.

It's not the hardware, it's the royalties (2)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039125)

The only thing I want from the TV industry is for them to license their content to internet sites.

Streaming music over "Internet Radio" is very successful because there are licensing agreements in place that allow royalties to be paid back to the content providers.

There is no Internet TV because the dinosaur-brained TV execs don't want to relinquish control of their product (even though it has already been broadcast nationwide).

Hulu and Netflix have pitiful TV content because they simply can't license the content. The TV studios are totally missing out on a huge advertising revenue source, because of their backwards thinking.

Message to TV execs: WAKE UP and smell the internet. You could be making money RIGHT NOW if you licensed your content to websites to stream to millions upon millions of handheld devices. (Don't sweat the format, other people will fix that for you.)
Or if you don't we'll just keep torrenting TV shows and you'll get nothing ...

Eh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39039153)

I wish people would stop trying to pass off opinion pieces as facts, or in this case as newsworthy.

Not the largest problem (1, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039165)

By far the largest problem standing between us and mass smart TV adoption is the user interface.

No. By far the biggest problem is that there's no reason for a "smart" TV (whatever that is) when all you can do with it is watch the same junk that's on a dumb TV.

TV is not about picture quality (2)

jfruh (300774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039187)

If TV is about picture quality, why does my wife watch Modern Family on the 15-inch screen on her laptop in our office and not on the 40-inch HD TV we have downstairs in the living room? Oh, right, because it's super easy for her to legally watch episodes whenever she wants via ABC's Web site in a browser, whereas doing so on our TV varies between "a pain in the ass" and "impossible."

The company that solves this problem will make millions, and it won't be a company that's convinced that all people want is ever-sharper video.

not in the market for a "smart" tv. (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039209)

I understand the problem -- my wife can't operate our current tv, relies on our geek daughter to cue up what she wants to watch or choose the right input and navigate to the channel she's interested in. The TV ecosystem has gotten ridiculously complex. Some simplification or automation or integration is long overdue.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the answer is not to build all that stuff into a tv. TVs are a long term appliance, not something you buy every two years when an incremental improvement comes out. Remember TVs with VHS VCRs built in? The TV continues to work long after the VCR becomes dead weight. (Somewhat true also for TV/DVD combos, although I notice they're starting to use common laptop DVD drives now.)

I know, if, say, Amazon Instant Video goes away or Netflix changes or some new hot service becomes available, the manufacturer could add new features with a firmware upgrade, right?

Yeah, that worked really well for the cellular market. Why would manufacturers upgrade existing sets when they could use the new feature as leverage to replace the set?

525 interlaced lines good enough for TV (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039401)

Have a plain old 32" CRT TV with digital converter box, blu-ray capable player (mostly used for DVD).....resolution isn't anything to me, don't give enough of a crap. If I really want to see something with spectacular sound and resolution I'll play it on my workstation. and fuck 3D

Doubt it (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039455)

TVs are about picture quality but, more importantly, about content. The first TVs were B&W and the picture quality was dismal compared to modern standards. Yet people paid huge prices for them because TVs allowed them to watch stuff they had only imagined.

S-PVS vs IPS Pro vs PLS Panels (1)

acooks (663747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39039483)

"TVs are ultimately about picture quality. ... and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality"

First thought: Bullshit. Then I saw it's not S-PVA vs IPS Pro anymore; Samsung's doing PLS now.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/monitors/display/samsung-sa850_2.html [xbitlabs.com]

Need more detail on PLS...
http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/12/02/14/2144217/television-next-in-line-for-industry-wide-shakeup# [slashdot.org]

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