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TV makers push 'smart sets' idea by adding apps

gadgets Updated: Jan 08, 2013 01:48 IST
Highlight Story

Your smartphone is the screen in your pocket. Your computer is the screen on your desk. Your tablet is a screen for the couch.

Almost every major electronic device you own is a black rectangle that is brought to life by software and content. So how can hardware companies make their products stand out in a sea of black rectangles?

The most exciting things in television technology are no longer in hardware, they are happening in software. For example, dozens of tablets are on the market, but Apple and Amazon lead the pack because of the impressive apps and digital content available for their devices, he said.

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This year, television makers like Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic are trying to grab attention by supersising their television screens and quadrupling the level of detail in their images. And manufacturers continue to push the idea of "smart" sets by adding apps and other interactive elements.

For the electronics industry, the television is an important but increasingly difficult product to sell. Just seven years ago, big-screen sets that cost thousands of dollars were major profit generators. But more recently, even as televisions have gotten bigger and better looking, they have dropped significantly in price amid heated competition.

To make matters worse, consumers are buying new televisions as often as they buy a new car, not as often as a new computer or phone. And people can now watch video on smartphones, tablets and computers, reducing the need to buy a television at all.

As they try to prop up profits, electronics makers are trying hard to establish a new high-end category of televisions. They are promoting what they call Ultra High-Definition televisions, which have four times as many pixels as their high-definition predecessors.

Some of these new televisions can cost as much as a car, like Sony's 84-inch Ultra HDTV, which is priced at $25,000. But Sony says it will unveil Ultra HDTVs soon that are smaller and less expensive. Samsung will also introduce new televisions this week, including an Ultra HDTV that emphasizes software. Samsung will also introduce new TVs this week, including an Ultra HDTV that emphasises software.