Online gadget shopping and review site Retrovo have released the results of a study into the HDTV market in advance of the Consumer Electronics Show later this month. Though the newest, fanciest HDTVs are expected to feature prominently at the show, Retrovo’s data shows that the market is suffering from an increasing lack of differentiation. There are many great TVs on the market, but more and more they all pretty much look the same.
Retrovo’s data reflects this in a number of ways. First is TV selling price. While certain “name brands” like Sony or Samsung used to command a significantly higher price than “off brands” like Vizio, that is no longer the case. This study shows that the selling price for Sony’s TVs is now roughly comparable to Vizio’s:
Second, and perhaps more telling, is user ratings. The study compares user ratings across major HDTV brands, and finds very little difference. While Samsung is the closest thing to a clear leader the data shows, Samsung TVs are only rated 3% higher than Vizio and LG, which are tied for second place. The lowest rated brand is Sony, but Sony TVs are only rated 2% lower than the next lowest brand, Panasonic, and only 6% lower than the “leader,” Samsung.
More and more, the study says, TV makers are turning to connectivity as a way to differentiate their products. Nearly half of all TVs above 37 inches included internet connectivity of some kind - usually to video services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon instant video, or audio services like Pandora. This, however, may not be enough according to the study. As the focus on internet connectivity in the TV market intensifies, the study predicts that software makers like Google, Apple, and Microsoft are well positioned to become major players in the television market. The study specifically cites recent rumors of Apple’s iTV, which may or may not be headed for a late 2012 release. With software makers treating the HDTV the way they’ve been treating the mobile phone - as a platform for software development - they stand to revolutionize the HDTV industry, and leave more traditional TVs in the dust.
What do you think? Are we on the brink of a TV revolution? Sound off in the comments.[Source: Retrovo Blog]