What's up with TVs?

By Kristie Neo, Intern

 

I’ve been trawling through the newsfeed of announcements from CES currently taking place in Las Vegas and all I’m getting out of it are TVs. Well, most of it at least.

Just before opening day, Samsung, LG, Sharp and Sony all came out with their own versions of the best TV you can buy.  LG launched seven new OLED (organic light-emitting diode) backed TV sets. Samsung followed suit with homegrown innovation: the SUHD quantum dot tech sets, supposedly better than LG’s OLED models. Sharp and Sony came up with their versions featuring the latest 4K technology.  All boast more vibrant colors you’ve never seen before, brighter displays, less energy consumption, and some with screens capable of bending at the touch of the button. By 2017, Samsung says every TV set it will sell will be ‘Internet connectable’ It’ll be the ultimate TV experience you’ll never forget.

It’s rather strange if you think about it since everyone pretty much knows that it’s phones, tablets and phablets that people are buying, not TVs.  If anything, the only thing profitable worth measuring these days will be content communicated through TV, rather than the number of sets sold.  Experts say global TV set sales are expected to decline, or at most remain flat in the coming years. Then why the enthusiasm for TVs?

The consumerism monster, you say? Our insatiable appetite for more, better and faster technology.  You’re probably right. More than that, it does shed light on a few things.

 

  1. Immediacy still determines progress in technology

The fact that you’ve got all these big guns launching mere improvements on what you’d consider slightly backdated technology shows that the need to feed the consumer needs for quicker, faster, and better is still dominating progress in the tech industry.  To stay relevant, these giants have no choice but to feed this demand for gradual upgrades because that’s what customers want, and that’s what’s going to sell, for now.  This begs the question of how much attention is being paid to come up with something groundbreaking, if true innovation is about identifying long-term customer needs rather than temporary ones.

 

  1. Crazy technology is not crazy

This year’s CES has unveiled some pretty wacky gadgets.  You’ve got stuff like helmets to spur hair growth, 3D chocolate technology, and wearable computers for your dog.  Do you really need all this? Well, maybe not. But crazy technology isn’t inane technology. That’s the beauty of innovation.  For radical ideas to take place, we also need radical space to foster it.

 

  1. Human needs aren’t changing as radically as we think

No it isn’t, even though your grandmother said so.

Yes times have changed, but the great tech successes of our time have been the ones who were precise in identifying what makes a human tick. If you think about it, human needs haven’t changed much at all.  All of us have an innate desire to communicate, to share ideas, to achieve things more quickly, and to define ourselves in a space we call our own. The Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Steve Wozniaks were successful because they were able to execute their ideas in a space that was rapidly evolving.  The central goal was similar for all.  They answered basic human needs. These don’t change, its habits and behaviors that do.

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