Samsung has high hopes for this year. They are targeting a 15% growth in the sales of flat-screen TVs in 2011 to 45 million units and hope to more than double shipments ofthe pricier LED sets. Also, it’s going to want us to keep using those special glasses for 3D sets.
Samsung plans to increase its sales of 3D TVs by four times this year, reaching up to 8-9 million units. Simultaneously, it also aims to promote Internet enabled TV sets to push up margins as severe price competition keeps profits razor-thin. In addition to all this, Samsung aims to sell 12 million Internet-enabled TVs in 2011, which sport access to its own TV Appstore, video-streaming site Hulu and social networking sites such as Twitter. The 12 million would make up 27 percent of its total TV shipments this year if achieved.
Like most other TV manufacturer, the recession made Samsung take quite the hit in sales and revenue. As a result, the company failed to inspire consumers with newer models. On the other hand, all the major competitors, from LG Electronics to Sony — showed improved versions of 3D and “smart” TVs at the CES2011 held earlier this month, hoping to grab a bigger slice of an emerging market where no single player has emerged dominant so far.
The fight over the connected living room, which enables viewers to hook up TVs to the Web and hence access shows and software stored in the cloud as well as on personal computers, is not short of aspirants with technology heavyweights from Google and Microsoft to Apple all joining the fray. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
At the CES in Las Vegas this year, Samsung booked the biggest show offering a showcase of a wide range of products from smart phones and tablets to PCs and cameras. It was mainly focused on Internet enabled and 3D TVs, betting on the global the Smart TV market to grow to 30 million units this year. It is expected that 21 percent of all TVs shipped in 2010 had internet connectivity and the segment is expected to grow at double-digit rates over the next four years, swelling to 122 million units by 2014 as estimated by research firm DisplaySearch.
The market for 3D sales wasn’t good for Samsung owing to the high prices and having to use heavy glasses. Samsung plans to bring in better and improved models this year. Samsung, which controlled more than 50 percent of the global 3-D TV market last year, is pushing for the active-shutter technology, which requires special glasses with batteries, chips and switches to synchronize with the 3D content on the TV sets. Some producers, led by Japan’s Toshiba, are introducing glasses-free 3D sets also, while LG Electronics is placing a bet on a new display called Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) that makes glasses much lighter because they do not need to be electronically activated.
Samsung’s Yoon said that in the current scenario, striving after glasses-free 3D displays is not a practical move. Especially for larger displays sets. It makes viewing angles impractically narrow and takes more away from the TV experience than it gives. Hence, according to him it will actually be a deterrent to the growth of 3D TV sets.
However, the general tone in the consumer is that they do not want to use special glasses while watching TV. Also, people with corrective glasses have a tough time with 3D content because the 3D glasses are obviously not designed to be worn over existing glasses. So it remains to be seen what actually becomes of the hardly a year old market.