NYTimes reported on the latest HDTV trend: streaming content directly from the internet. Samsung’s web connected products, including Blu-Ray Players, were highlighted.
“This is huge,” says Dan Schinasi, a marketing manager at Samsung Electronics America. “This is what we have been waiting for.” Samsung is doubtless enthusiastic, introducing Internet connectivity on 23 different TVs, starting at $1,600 for a 40-inch LCD model and three Blu-ray players priced from $200 to $350. Indeed, the trend is that such Internet connections will rapidly become standard. According to research analysts at NPD, 12 percent of flat-panel sets sold in September in the United States had networking capabilities, up from less than 1 percent a year ago.
The article mentions other products that currently support or have announced plans for Netflix and Vudu. What wasn’t made clear was how these new HDTV displays will compete with the ever-growing list Internet Streaming devices capable of connecting to your existing HDTV display:
There will be a section of the market that is perfectly happy renting movies, watching them on them on their HDTV, rinse, repeat. But where does that leave the cinema enthusiasts with Home Theaters?
The article touched on topics of concern such as the lag time until a movie started and video quality (e.g. HD v. SD). Not many words were devoted to how these models, both HDTV displays and BD players, account for
- quality of content v quality of connectivity
- surround sound
Internet connected HDTV displays are definitely the direction the industry is headed. Before it reaches any level approaching ubiquity viewers must be comfortable trading physical media for streaming content. Are Home Theater owners willing to trade in their DVD’s with Dolby Digital surround sound for 2 channel stereo? Will adaptive streaming win over trading additional lag time to buffer higher quality content? Where do you store a digital copy of a TV show or movie you really enjoy after watching it streamed to your HDTV?
Knocks on the new technology? No. These are more like opportunities for up-sell once online streaming catches on. Content owners will figure out they need to provide an upgrade path and manufacturers will figure out how to deliver it. After all, there is money to be made there. Happy viewing.
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