You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

3D, 2nd screens may fuel TV innovation

Consumer electronics industry facing a turning point

The consumer electronics industry is facing a turning point: whether to find a new category of TVs to sell or risk seeing TV research and development efforts become unsupportable.

“Either TV is going to get really cheap and stay that way or we’re going to see some innovation,” Jim Mainard, head of digital strategy for DreamWorks Animation (the “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” franchises, “How to Train Your Dragon), told Variety. The exec joins LG Mobile and RealD execs on a “3D on the Go” panel today at CES.

Mainard points to the rapid increases in quality and simultaneous decline and price and margins for flatscreen TVs. With hardware makers in the “value” category, like Vizio, closing the gap with “premium” TV set manufacturers like Samsung and Sony, Mainard told Variety, “the premium manufacturers need to create something new and if they don’t I think you’re going to see value manufacturers take the entire market.”

Organic LEDs might be that new category, but Mainard warns “If OLED doesn’t make it big this year, value manufacturers will overtake the market and the expensive research that goes on at a Sony or a Panasonic won’t be affordable anymore.”

Mainard said that if TV innovation were to slow down due to the commoditization of flatscreens, that would eventually slow innovation in movies. Advances like 4K resolution, he said, “help the movie experience but don’t translate to the home. So if you look at the value chain, there’s probably a lost opportunity there. The most healthy industries are the industries that can afford to innovate.”

Mainard sees big growth ahead for second screens, especially tablets, but is looking for much tighter integration with the TV. Asked whether the hush-hush Apple TV, iPad 3 and iPhone 5 might all be designed to work together, he said “I’d be very disappointed in Steve Jobs’s legacy if they didn’t do that.”

“The real question,” he said, “is who else will integrate. If that’s done in a seamless way, I think you’ll see good market penetration.”

With that in mind, Mainard is watching Microsoft’s Windows 8 closely. Since the new operating system is supposed to span handheld, tablet and PC devices, it has the potential to speed up integration.

“Android isn’t in a position to do it,” he said, because they don’t have the PC space. Windows could do it.”

“I don’t know if Microsoft will get it right, but they certainly have the cash and market presence to drive Windows 8 forward. Having a unified OS would create a lot of innovation opportunities.”

Mainard said the current advances in autostereo (glasses-free) 3D and ultra-high-definition 4K TV are only a partial step toward a really practical autostereo TV.

The extra pixels of 4K displays will help create the multiple views needed for autostereo 3D, he said but “(Autostereo) needs the ability to track the positions of viewers and direct the display fast enough to each viewer. I’ve seen it in labs, not in the market. I’d call that the birth of autostereo.”

Mainard noted that once flatscreen bezels are eliminated, “I think you’ll see tiled seamless displays,” which could be in whatever size and shape the consumer wants.

More Digital

  • Verizon Stream TV

    Stream TV Review: Verizon’s New Streaming Device Is One Odd Duck

    Verizon has an answer to Roku, but it’s not talking much about it: The mobile carrier quietly released a new streaming device this week that promises to bring services like HBO, Hulu and YouTube to your TV. Dubbed Stream TV, the device is a solid streamer based on Google’s Android TV platform, albeit with a [...]

  • Hulu With Live TV Full Channel

    Hulu Hiking Price of Live TV Service 22%, to $55 per Month

    Hulu is implementing its second price increase in less than a year for its Hulu With Live TV product — with the base package of 60-plus live channels increasing 22%, to $54.99 per month. The price hike on the monthly base price of Hulu With Live TV will go into effect Dec. 18 for all [...]

  • Hulu With Live TV

    Hulu Live TV Tops Sling TV as No. 1 Streaming Pay-TV Service, Analysts Estimate

    Hulu With Live TV has edged out Dish Network’s Sling TV to take the crown as the biggest virtual pay-television service in the U.S., according to new analyst estimates. They were among the only winners amid the cord-cutting carnage that slashed through the sector in the third quarter. As of the end of the third [...]

  • Mubi India

    Mubi Launches Two VoD Channels in India

    Film specialist streaming platform Mubi launched on Friday in India with two channels, Mubi India and Mubi World. The channels are available together for an introductory offer of INR 199 ($2.75) for three months. Thereafter the channels will cost INR 499 ($7) a month or INR 4788 ($66.75) annually. For Mubi India, a channel dedicated [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content