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UK broadcasters looking at unified on-demand service to battle Netflix
by Paul Hill
According to an article published yesterday in The Telegraph (via MSN), the British broadcasters are looking to band together to fight off rivals such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Under the existing plans, which are not final, content from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 would all be combined in one space so if you filtered content by Drama, you would see the dramas from each of the services side-by-side. You will also be able to view content by service too.
The report claims that the broadcasters have been in talks since the beginning of the year but that the urgency of the issue has intensified recently as they wish to flesh out a deal before 2023’s smart TVs begin production. If they arrange a deal quick enough, the new streaming platform could get its own button on smart TV remotes.
The introduction of a free, combined streaming service would be very good for people in the UK who currently have to wade through several separate services to find the content they watch. The idea for this service could have come from Britbox, a paid service operated by BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. It offers more content than what’s available on their free platforms but it costs £5.99 per month.
The media regulator, Ofcom, has said that it ‘supports strong collaborative partnerships’ so this news will be welcome. It should also be welcome by the government which announced last week that it wants to ‘protect the creation of uniquely British TV’.
Roku announces plans to expand into its second big European market
by Paul Hill
The TV platform, Roku, has announced (via Reuters) its intention to expand into Germany later this year, making it the second big European market that it’ll be present in. Unlike the UK expansion, where it started out as the software partner for Hisense, it will immediately launch its own hardware in the German market.
Speaking to Reuters, the executive leading Roku’s international expansion, Arthur van Rest, said that there’s a ‘very big secular shift to streaming’ and that this trend is only being sped up by the pandemic that gripped the world last year and is still making itself known with rising case numbers in many countries.
He went on to say:
When Roku launches its hardware in Germany, it will come with apps and content from local partners including Seven.One Entertainment Group, RTL Deutschland, and Sky Deutschland. Of course, other services such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and Disney+ will be available for those who subscribe to those services.
In the UK, Roku's streaming players come in four variations: Express, Express 4K, Streaming Stick+, and Streambar. Prices range from £29.99 to £129.99 which works out to around €35 and €150 respectively – these are the prices we could see when Roku arrives in Germany later this year.
LG announces launch of LG QNED Mini LED premium TVs
by Paul Hill
LG has announced that it will be rolling out its newest TVs in July that use Quantum Dot NanoCell colour and Mini LED backlight technologies to deliver a premium experience. The new 2021 LCD TVs will deliver deeper blacks, more accurate colour reproduction, and greater contrast and brightness.
The line-up of LG QNED Mini LED TVs consists of the 8K QNED99 and QNED95 series along with the 4K QNED90 series with screen sizes ranging from 65 inches to 86 inches. Aside from the aforementioned improvements in picture quality, these TVs are certified by the product testing agency Intertek to provide 100 percent colour volume and colour consistency. They also eliminate any colour distortion across wide viewing angles so they should be great to watch no matter where you’re sitting in a room.
Commenting on the new TVs, Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, said:
LG said that the new displays will be available in North America initially before coming to additional regions around the world in the following weeks. LG didn’t state the prices for the TVs but as they’re premium, expect them to be expensive.
TrendForce says focus will be on OLED and large TVs in 2021
by Paul Hill
The analyst firm TrendForce has said that it expects to see TV manufacturers focus on large and OLED TVs. It noted that demand for 55-inch+ TVs have seen increased among the public so manufacturers will respond to this. On the OLED front, the analyst said that LCD panels have seen a big price hike making OLED more attractive to both brands and consumers.
In terms of figures, TrendForce believes that 55-inch TVs will account for 20% of the total TV shipments this year and that 60-inch TVs will represent 17.7% of shipments. Compared to the year before, demand for 55-inch TV sets will stay the same but 60-inch TVs will see a 3.3% growth compared to last year. This growth rate is notable because in previous years growth didn’t go higher than 1-2%.
On the OLED front, TrendForce noted that 55-inch UHD OLED panels were four times the price of the equivalent LCD products at the start of 2020, by the end of the year the difference was 2.9 times and in the first quarter of this year, UHD OLED was only 2.2 times more expensive than the LCD equivalent – this is all down to LCD price hikes. As a result, OLED TV shipments are expected to reach 6.76 million units which is a year-over-year increase of 72%.
It’s expected that global TV shipments as a whole this year will reach 223 million units which represents a growth of 3.1% year-over-year. TrendForce said that two drivers of the growth will be the UEFA Euro 2020 and Tokyo Olympics which were both delayed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
LG's 2021 lineup of OLED TVs starts at $1,399, and it's available from this month
by João Carrasqueira
LG has announced the pricing and availability for most of its refreshed OLED TV lineup for 2021, which was originally announced at this year's CES. OLED TVs sit at the top of LG's range, since OLED panels are still the only viable way to get individual lighting per pixel, meaning you get true blacks and more vivid colors. The lineup includes the A1, C1, and G1 series, which succeed the AX, CX, and GX series.
Starting at the top of the range, we have the "Gallery" G1 series, which is the only one to feature LG's new OLED evo technology. These new OLED panels are more power-efficient, and thus promise a brighter image and more vivid colors compared to its previous OLED technology. The Gallery series is also designed to be used as a sort of digital frame, with smaller bezels and a wall mount that leaves very little space between the TV and the wall. The G1 series will come in three sizes: 55-inch, coming in April for $2,199; 65-inch, coming this month for $2,999; and 77-inch, costing a whopping a $4,499, also available this month.
The C1 series is the more mainstream offering and it spans the widest range of screen sizes. It starts at 48 inches for $1,499, coming in April. Then there's a 55-inch model for $1,799 this month, a 65-inch model for $2,499, and a 77-inch panel for $3,799, all available this month. Finally, an 83-inch variant will be coming in May for $5,999. Both the G1 and C1 series are valid options for gamers, featuring four HDMI 2.1 ports with support for 4K 120Hz, variable refresh rates, auto low latency mode, and eARC.
If you don't need all those gaming features, the A1 series is the cheapest of the bunch, though it also misses out on the new α9 Gen 4 AI processor. The 48-inch model will be available in June for $1,299; the 55- and 65-inch models will launch in April for $1,599 and $2,199, respectively; and the 77-inch model will also launch in June, for $3,199.
While LG didn't mention the Z1 lineup today, it did say that the ZX series, which it calls the Signature OLED TVs, is already available and will be available through the year. The 77-inch model costs $19,999, while the 88-inch goes for $29,999.