With 2013 now over and done, it’s time to look forward. We’ve collected information from our TV industry contacts, and are ready to make predictions for 2014.
But let’s first look back at how we did with our 2013 predictions.
Our forecast that big screen OLED TVs would finally arrive came true, with LG and Samsung both shipping 55-inch curved-screen units in 2013. (Read our takes here and here.) However, our prediction that a third OLED maker would step in didn’t pan out.
We said to expect LCD TVs with 90-inch-plus screens, but those never arrived. The largest LCD in 2013 is Sharp’s 90-inch Sharp LC-90LE657 , which was accompanied by a few other huge LCDs such as Samsung’s 4K 85-inch UN85S9. A couple of weeks ago both Samsung and LG announced new 105-inch UHDTVs with extra-wide curved screens for 2014.
We wrote plasma would survive in 2013—a prediction that came true, though Panasonic did announce that it would end plasma production of its top rated plasma HDTVs and cease panel manufacturing at the close of the year. The good news is that both LG and Samsung have stated they will continue plasma HDTV production in 2014.
New remote controls did arrive, with Samsung, Panasonic and LG leading the charge. Their respective models added new voice guidance features to help you choose shows you want to watch. However, the eye control features that we anticipated did not arrive and still appear to be a work in progress.
Samsung introduced 55, 65 and 85-inch UHDTVs, while Toshiba offered 58-, 65-and 84-inch models. Sharp debuted the industry’s first 70-inch UHDTV. And Panasonic offered its first 4K TV, a 65-inch LCD model.
Chinese TV-maker TCL rounded out the 4K list with a $905 50-inch screen.
Our prediction that there would be no announcement of a 4K Blu-ray format in 2013 came true.
More TVs arrived with built-in cameras, with Panasonic and LG getting into the act and Samsung expanding the feature to a wider range of models.
Connected Everything came true, with movie and music streaming coming to soundbars, Blu-ray players and home theater systems.
Improved viewing angle in LED-backlit LCDs did not take off, with TV makers instead introducing 4K resolution as a step-up feature.
As predicted, a new HDMI standard, version 2.0, arrived and has already begun to migrate into Panasonic and Sony 4K TVs. HDMI 2.0 enables the transmission of 4K/2160p content with a 60 Hz refresh rate, but to date no sources in that format have been made available.
The Apple iTV never arrived.
Finally, the radical changes we predicted for Best Buy didn’t materialize. The company made only modest changes in 2013, adding special departments for Samsung and Microsoft Windows PC’s and laptops.
Final score: 8 out of 12 for a 66.6% accurate forecast.
Predictions For 2014
1 ) More Curved Screens The first two big screen OLEDs to arrive were curved, and Sony also brought out a curved LED LCD HDTV in 2013. In 2014 we expect to see more curved-screen OLEDs and LCDs in a range of screen sizes. LG has already shown a 77-inch curved OLED, and both Samsung and LG have announced 105-inch ultra-wide (21:9) curved-screen UHDTVs.
2) UHDTVs Take Over While the prices of new TVs tend to be disclosed only when they arrive in stores starting in late winter/spring, we predict the demise of the above-$2000 HDTV (OLED models excepted). Top LCDs from every name brand, and a few no-name brands, are all going to be 4K.
3) Another OLED Maker We’re sticking our necks out on this one, as we have seen no indication that another company will start producing OLED TVs. It’s just blind faith based on Sony showing OLED prototypes at CES in 2012 and 2013, and Panasonic in 2013.
4) UHDTV Cable or Satellite Channels DirecTV told investors at a recent conference that the two new satellites it’s launching in 2014 will be capable of transmitting 4K. And cable providers demo’d 4K at the National Cable Show in 2013. Content always drives demand and cable/satellite is still the primary means for folks to get it. More 4K content will also be available via Netflix in 2014 and Sony’s Video Unlimited download service (requires a separate media player that only works with Sony UHDTVs).
5) Plasma Remains the Best-performing, Affordable HDTV Option Panasonic may have ended production of its plasma panels, but we still predict that new plasmas coming from other makers in 2014 will outperform new LCD HDTVs. OLED looks amazing, but we do not believe that set prices will drop under $6000 over the next year. Both Samsung and LG will continue to offer plasma HDTVs in 2014 (and there is still a supply of 2013 Panasonic plasmas on the market).
6) UHDTVs in a Wider Range of Screen Sizes In 2013, consumers looking to buy a name-brand UHDTV in the four-figure price range were limited to 55-, 58-, 65- and 70-inch screen sizes. There were some models in the 84-85-inch range, but those cost $15K-$40K. For 2014, we expect to see name-brand 4K TVs with screen sizes ranging from under 50 inches to 110 inches (Samsung’s recently announced $150K model). That’s because Chinese panel makers have increased production and screen size options. Also, LG, Samsung and Sharp will all be producing their own 4K panels in 2014.
7) More Smart Soundbars, Fewer Blu-ray Home Theater Systems The A/V trend continues to shift from home theater box systems to soundbars (and a new category, soundplates, a flat base-type speaker that’s positioned between the TV and its stand). CE companies also seem to want to add audio and video streaming capability to everything. This development, along with more TVs that can stream content from tablets and phones, will provide more options than ever for consumers to make their TV “smarter”.
8) New 4K Media Players Consumers seeking UHD content are currently limited to Sony’s proprietary $700 media player or a Red Ray player ($1750) that only offers “art house” films via the Odemax service. We predict that a number of new, lower-cost media players that offer 4K downloads of popular movies will appear in 2014.
9) 3D, Yes. Glasses-free 3D, No With more Blu-ray 3D titles coming and the cost of the feature having been amortized by set makers over the last few years, 3D-capable TVs will continue to be offered. However, technical issues coupled with cool consumer demand for 3D means that the much anticipated glasses-free 3D TV will not appear for sale in the U.S. in 2014.
10) Apple iTV With rumors that an Apple-branded Ultra HDTV is in the pipeline still swirling around, we’ll once again risk egg on the face by predicting that it will appear by the end of 2014.
That wraps up our 2014 predictions. We wish all our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year.
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