Hisense Acquires Toshiba TV Assets For $113.6M

November 14th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, Front Projection, front projectors, Full HD 1080p

 

Hisense Electric, a wholly owned subsidiary of China-based Hisense Group, revealed Tuesday that it will purchase certain television assets of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., including TV production, brand, R&D and operation service, effective Nov. 14, 2017.

Under the deal, Hisense will purchase 95 percent stock shares of Toshiba Visual Solutions Corporation (TVS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corp., for $113.6 million (12.9 billion Japanese Yen) with Toshiba retaining 5 percent of the stock.

Hisense will obtain the TVS businesses including production, research and development, and sales functions as well as the license to use the Toshiba brand for a period of 40 years for visual solution partners operating in Europe, South East Asia and other markets.

The acquisition will give Hisense, which is among the largest manufacturers and marketers of televisions in China, yet another popular television brand for marketing purposes, although which territories will be available for use is complicated by several prior licensing deals for the brand in various markets around the world.

Hisense currently markets televisions here under the Hisense and Sharp brands. Hisense licensed the Sharp brand three years ago from Japan’s Sharp Corp., which was struggling with a large debt load. Sharp Corp. later fell under the control of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision, a company owned by Foxconn, and run by Terry Gou. Foxconn has been aggressively trying to get the rights to the Sharp brand back from Hisense to relaunch it under Sharp/Foxconn control in the United States.

Hisense still has two years to go on an initial five-year license for the Sharp brand in the United States, so it will be interesting to see if the Chinese manufacturer will replace Sharp with the Toshiba brand for the new retail distribution channels it has developed for its Sharp lines.

The announcement followed by a few days the Tokyo-based firm’s reported $436 million net loss for the fiscal first half. Toshiba is reportedly also in the process of trying to sell its chip business to a group of investors including Bain Capital. Meanwhile, The Visual Solutions subsidiary reported a $54.1 million net operating loss in the last fiscal year.

Toshiba, which like Sharp has been struggling the past several years, licensed off the Toshiba brand for televisions in the United States to Taiwan electronics manufacturer Compal Electronics. A Hisense spokesman in the United States contacted by HD Guru was not able to say Tuesday what, if any plans, Hisense has for the Toshiba brand for television sales and marketing here.

In a statement, Hisense seemed to indicate that much of its initial interest in TSV will be to produce and market televisions in Japan and other Asian markets, where Toshiba continues to have a strong brand presence. Hisense said Toshiba has long had respected display technology in Japan and continues to enjoy high international global technology brand awareness.

Read more about Hisense’s purchase of the Toshiba television business after the jump:

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Sony Joins Comcast’s Xfinity TV Partner App Program

November 14th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Cable TV, Connected TVs, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, Streaming Services, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

Starting next year, Sony televisions will be adding the Xfinity TV Partner app to let Comcast Xfinity subscribers access their cable TV service directly through Sony’s Android TVs without the need of a separate set-top box.

Owners of the new TVs will be able to enjoy live and on demand programming, including local broadcast and public educational and governmental channels, as well as their cloud DVR recordings via the app.  The app will also produce Xfinity’s X1 Guide with rich programming data.

Last year, Comcast launched the Xfinity TV Partner Program to expand the range of retail devices Xfinity TV customers can use to access the programming that is included with their subscription. In addition to Sony, Samsung and LG have been announced as Xfinity TV Parners, and Roku is currently in beta with the app, Comcast said.

Read more about Sony Android TVs getting the Xfinity Partner App after the jump:

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Roku Kicks Off Holidays With Pricing Specials, Including Streaming Stick+

November 13th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K Front Projection, 4K LED LCD, Cable TV, Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, electronic program guides, HDMI, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, Live OTT services, News, OTT services, search and recommendation, Skinny TV services, Streaming Services, UHD (4K) Media Players, UHDTV

 

Anyone planning to give a new Roku streaming media adapter has a gift for the upcoming holidays will be happy to know that the company will be offering limited-time pricing specials on select models in time for the traditional holiday shopping mania period.

Included in the offers will be the popular new Roku Streaming Stick+ bringing 4K Ultra HD resolution with HDR10 high dynamic range support for those app services offering the advanced picture quality content.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time, Nov. 22nd, the Roku Streaming Stick+, which regularly retails for $69.99, will be available for $49.99 through Nov. 27th, at 2:59 a.m. Eastern.

The offer will be available through retailers across the country for the Black Friday weekend, Roku said.

Read more about the Roku media adapter holiday pricing specials after the jump:

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CTA: It’s Looking Like Another Hi-Tech Black Friday

November 10th, 2017 · 2160p, 3LCD front projectors, 3LCD projectors, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Audio, Connected TVs, Digital Camera/Camcorder, Digital Cameras, Full HD 1080p, Headphones, intelligent assistant, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, Streaming Services, UHDTV

CTA’s Steve Koenig delivers holiday cheer at CES 2018 Unveiled

For 2017, Black Friday has become a moniker more for the price-slashing mania during all of November than for the traditional Friday after Thanksgiving selling bonanza.

According to Consumer Technology Association (CTA) market research presented at the annual CES 2018 Unveiled media event in the New York Metropolitan Pavilion Thursday, retailers are competing furiously throughout the month, before and after Thanksgiving, with special deals, many of which involve some sort of technology device.

From a CTA consumer study conducted just last weekend, 44 percent of those surveyed said they plan to shop now through the beginning of Thanksgiving week; 33 percent are shopping on Black Friday,  and 51 percent are shopping on Cyber Monday.

The activity is being driven by more and more promotion and targeted advertising through new high-tech means, and customers are coming into stores knowing what to expect in the way of pricing.

“Black Friday is less about the actual date and more of a marketing term today because it elicits an almost Pavlovian response from the consumer,” said Steve Koenig, the CTAs senior director of market research.

Read more this year’s Black Friday consumer shopping patterns after the jump:

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Panasonic Answers Sony A7R III With DC-G9 Mirrorless Camera

November 8th, 2017 · 2160p, Digital Camera/Camcorder, Digital Cameras, HDR, Lenses, News, UHDTV

Panasonic waited a couple of weeks to answer Sony’s introduction of the A7R III with what amounts to the next version of the Lumix DC-GH5 optimized for advanced still shooting.

Both companies are going after professional and advanced photographers with compact mirrorless cameras that set new speed recorders for still shooting and Auto Focus, surpassing the limits of trusty old single lens reflex models.

Announced today (Nov. 8, 2017), the new flagship Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 (shipping in early January at a $1,699.99 suggested retail for the body only) offers many of the advanced features of the previously introduced mirrorless flagship DC-GH5, including its 20.3-megapixel Live MOS Micro Four-Thirds image sensor without a low-pass filter.

But it builds off that camera’s still-shooting capabilities with an advanced Venus Engine 10 image processing system and ultra-fast Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) AF system capable of delivering continuous burst shooting of 20 frames per second (AFC) and 60 fps (AFS) with electronic shutter in full 20.3-megapixel resolution.

The high-speed AF with DFD technology is said to achieve the world’s fastest AF speed of 0.04 sec. The system also employs high-tracking performance to keep the subject on target and tack sharp.

For an even faster rate, shooters can opt for 6K/4K PHOTO and choose the most suitable burst shooting mode, in addition to the regular consecutive shooting mode and the new pre-burst shooting mode.

In addition, a high resolution mode is added to enable up to 80-megapixel equivalent images in JPEG/RAW formats produced in-camera.

The Lumix DC-G9 will go up against Sony’s soon-to-release A7R III single lens mirrorless camera with full-size (35mm) 42.4-megapixel CMOS image sensor, 10 fps burst shooting and ISO range up to 32000.

Read more about the new Panasonic DSC-G9 and Sony A7R III advanced digital single lens mirrorless cameras after the jump:

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AT&T Gives DirecTV An Interface Lift, Looks To Mend Subscriber Losses

November 7th, 2017 · 2160p, Connected TVs, DVR, electronic program guides, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, Live OTT services, News, OLED, OTT services, Satellite TV, Satellite UHD 4K TV, search and recommendation, Second Screen, Skinny TV services, UHDTV

 

To curb the cord-cutting phenomenon and reverse recent TV subscriber attrition, AT&T is revamping and elevating its positioning of satellite TV service DirecTV and over-the-top live TV streaming service DirecTV Now.

At the same time, the telco giant is giving DirecTV a new look and feel through a re-designed user interface and program guide that started rolling out last week.

The user interface and on-screen grid bring a more modern look, reminiscent of over-the-air channel grids recently introduced on Roku TVs and Fire TVs. However, some of the satcaster’s aging and loyal subscribers might find it harder to read. Among the most striking changes is a reversal of colors in the guide, from the former dark lettering on a light background to thin white lettering on a solid black and gray background.

Channels are also identified by logos but can be harder to distinguish when viewed from across a room.

Read more on AT&T’s changes for DirecTV and U-Verse after the jump:

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IHS: HDR Is `The Biggest Improvement Coming To TV’

November 6th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, Full HD 1080p, HDR, HDR10+, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, Satellite TV, Satellite UHD 4K TV, Streaming Services, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

 

Global unit shipments of televisions supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR) are forecast to reach 12.2 million in 2017 and will continue to expand to 47.9 million in 2021, according to television market research conducted in the IHS Markit TV Design and Features Tracker for the third quarter of 2017.

The London, England-based market analytics firm called HDR “the strongest-developing feature in television sets” today. In addition to selling 47.9 million HDR displays, IHS expects that by 2021 the global industry will move 88.6 million “HDR-ready” television sets that will accept HDR signals but will not display the full benefits on screen.

IHS classifies an HDR television as a display that will accept and read an HDR signal and display it on a screen with at least 500 nits of brightness or higher.

Paul Gray, IHS Markit consumer devices associate director, said that below 500 nits gains and differences from HDR will be marginal, adding that “there is some element of an arbitrary boundary” that requires “a thoughtful investment in a better experience.”

On a regional basis, IHS Markit forecasts North America will lead HDR TV shipments with 14.6 million HDR sets shipping in 2021, while China will be second with 11.8 million.

“North America remains the sweet spot for TVs, with a preference for large screens, the availability of rich UHD content and a willingness from consumers to buy full-featured sets,” Gray stated. “While Chinese consumers are buying the biggest TV sets these days, price sensitivity is higher and UHD content is scarcer.”

Read more on IHS Markit’s HDR television forecasts after the jump:

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Report: OLED Panel Production Costs Narrow Gap With LCD

November 3rd, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, LED LCD Flat Panels, LG Electronics, News, OLED, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

 

Fans of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) televisions, like those marketed in the United States by LG Electronics, Sony and Bang & Olufsen, will be pleased to know that OLED panel production costs, and eventually sell-through prices, should help to make the format even more popular in the near future.

That’s because the cost of OLED panel production compared to the cost of producing comparable LED-LCD TVs has declined significantly this year.

According to a study from international market research firm IHS Markit, the shrinking difference in manufacturing cost between OLED TV production and LED-LCD TVs should lead to significant expansion of OLED television production volume.

Helping this will be the start-up of new OLED panel production facilities in South Korea, by LG.Display, which is currently the world’s only producer of WRGB OLED panels used in the manufacture of consumer 4K OLED televisions, by LG Electronics and LG.Display customers Sony and B&O in the United States and Grundig, Konka, Loewe, Metz, Panasonic, Toshiba and others in other global regions.

OLED factories from other competitive display panel producers are also expected to come on line in the near future in China and other territories.

Read more on the changing production environment for OLED televisions after the jump:

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