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post #1 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just read on a tech blog that Sony is planning to spin off its TV business which would focus on high-end and 4K TVs. So basically Sony is quitting mass market and going into a niche.

Are there any Japanese brand left standing in the TV manufacturing?

Sharp is trying to sell itself to Chinese/Taiwanese outsourcing partner.

JVC sold the TV brand to Amtran.

Toshiba has turned to Vizio business model - design but outsource manufacturing to Chinese/Taiwanese companies.

Panasonic is barely holding on with a handful of LCD models made probably by outsourcing, after exiting plasma industry.

Did I miss anyone?

I guess in 10 - 15 years, we'll be talking about Korean giants, Samsung and LG, leaving the TV making business.
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 01:50 PM
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"This has happened before and it will happen again."

Basically, we are reliving the mid 90s over again. 27" TVs in every living room became commodity purchases. Many manufacturers withdrew from the market to concentrate on the high end and spun off cheap 3rd party manufacturers to service the low end.

Well, now HDTVs are commodity purchases. TV sales have been on a downward trajectory for the past two years. The boom born out of HDTV adoption is unsustainable now that the market is saturated . The manufacturers that sought refuge in the 'high end' of the market by making HDTVs have found themselves thrust into the commodity market again where there's no money if you aren't used to operating on razor thin margins.

So, at that point, you are forced to either retreat back into the high end (Sony and Panasonic) or slap your name on a cheaper product to stay alive (Toshiba and JVC.)

They are attempting to make 4k the start of the next cycle, but it will never reach the heights that HDTV did. Without OLED development, I would be surprised if Sony and Panasonic were still making TVs 10 years from now.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bull3964 View Post

"This has happened before and it will happen again."

Basically, we are reliving the mid 90s over again. 27" TVs in every living room became commodity purchases. Many manufacturers withdrew from the market to concentrate on the high end and spun off cheap 3rd party manufacturers to service the low end.

Well, now HDTVs are commodity purchases. TV sales have been on a downward trajectory for the past two years. The boom born out of HDTV adoption is unsustainable now that the market is saturated . The manufacturers that sought refuge in the 'high end' of the market by making HDTVs have found themselves thrust into the commodity market again where there's no money if you aren't used to operating on razor thin margins.

So, at that point, you are forced to either retreat back into the high end (Sony and Panasonic) or slap your name on a cheaper product to stay alive (Toshiba and JVC.)

They are attempting to make 4k the start of the next cycle, but it will never reach the heights that HDTV did. Without OLED development, I would be surprised if Sony and Panasonic were still making TVs 10 years from now.

I'm not sure how long it will last, but I don't believe it is accurate to lump JVC and Toshiba in the same category (at least right now).

JVC is a pure selling/renting of the brand. It is a 100% marketing deal with 0% technology (except perhaps for flatscreen TVS with some 'premium' JVC sound system integrated into them), so their will be no JVC contribution to the design and engineering of these TVs (again, except for the possible exception of the sound system).

Toshiba may be subcontracting the manufacturing of their flatscreen TVs, but as far as I know, they are still designing, engineering, and specifying those TVs (as well as supporting them). So it is nothing like the situation with JVC (which is more similar to the situation with RCA or Poloroid).

And also, it is not accurate to say that JVC or RCA or Poloroid are 'slapping their name on a cheap product to stay alive' - they are not alive in the TV market, they are dead (or in the case of Poloroid, never were alive in the TV market to begin with). So by selling out their brand to another (Chinese) company that wants to try to enter the US TV market with a known brand, they are hoping to generate an additional revenue stream at no incremental investment or financial risk to themselves.

Toshiba is different - they are not dead in the TV market (yet). If you have a problem with a Toshiba TV, you know that Toshiba is behind the product and will support it. If you have a problem with one of these new JVC TVs, I can almost guarantee that JVC is not behind the product and will not be supporting it...

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post #4 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They are attempting to make 4k the start of the next cycle, but it will never reach the heights that HDTV did.

4K LCDs doesn't feel like the next cycle or evolutionary jump. 4K LCDs remind me of the transition period of HD CRTs before finally giving over completely to flat panels: SD CRT --> HD CRT --> HD flat panel --> 4K flat panel --> 4K ???

I guess this is a sign that LCD is now a mature technology. So what's the next big display tech? OLED? Hologram? tongue.gif
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Without OLED development, I would be surprised if Sony and Panasonic were still making TVs 10 years from now.

You are too generous. I give Sony and Panasonic maximum 5 years.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Toshiba may be subcontracting the manufacturing of their flatscreen TVs, but as far as I know, they are still designing, engineering, and specifying those TVs (as well as supporting them).

Right. Toshiba is just like Vizio now... and in about same 2nd tier, if I may say so. I remember when Toshiba was up there with Sony when it came to TVs.frown.gif
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:29 PM
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JVC is not dead. They are just focusing on higher end display devices, such as their reference series projectors, which take the crown as best in class picture quality every single year. I actually can not wait for the same to happen to Sony, so that I can buy a high end Sony tv that is actually worth looking at. The low-end market should be left to the lower tier brands. Sony and other higher end brands have no business selling in the low-end market, it is way to competitive.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there a high-end only TV brand? Is it even a viable business model?

I seem to recall Loewe (sp?) back in the days but I don't think they were around too long.
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:36 PM
 
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Pioneer tried but failed. I see no reason to believe that's changed 5 years later.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 03:44 PM
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Toshiba may be subcontracting the manufacturing of their flatscreen TVs, but as far as I know, they are still designing, engineering, and specifying those TVs (as well as supporting them).

Right. Toshiba is just like Vizio now... and in about same 2nd tier, if I may say so. I remember when Toshiba was up there with Sony when it came to TVs.frown.gif

Yeah, I agree. The difference being that Toshiba has 'slipped' down to that level, while Vizio has 'crawled their way up' to that level...

Will be interesting to see where both of those companies are in TVs two years from now. If I was placing bets, I know where my money would go (a continuation of the recent trend in both cases).


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post #10 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 05:00 PM
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4K LCDs doesn't feel like the next cycle or evolutionary jump. 4K LCDs remind me of the transition period of HD CRTs before finally giving over completely to flat panels: SD CRT --> HD CRT --> HD flat panel --> 4K flat panel --> 4K ???

I guess this is a sign that LCD is now a mature technology. So what's the next big display tech? OLED? Hologram? tongue.gif

It's not really about display tech. It's about form factor, standards, and affordability.

There was so much more behind the adoption of HDTVs. We had the analog sunset (with the switch from NTSC to ATSC), TVs going from boxy contraptions to flat panels, and affordable big screens for the masses. This was also all happening while the home video market was exploding (and then imploding.)

Basically, the switch from CRTs to digital flat panel displays was a once in generation (possibly once in a lifetime) event. Those market conditions aren't going to be replicated anytime soon.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 05:19 PM
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4K LCDs doesn't feel like the next cycle or evolutionary jump. 4K LCDs remind me of the transition period of HD CRTs before finally giving over completely to flat panels: SD CRT --> HD CRT --> HD flat panel --> 4K flat panel --> 4K ???

I guess this is a sign that LCD is now a mature technology. So what's the next big display tech? OLED? Hologram? tongue.gif

It's not really about display tech. It's about form factor, standards, and affordability.

There was so much more behind the adoption of HDTVs. We had the analog sunset (with the switch from NTSC to ATSC), TVs going from boxy contraptions to flat panels, and affordable big screens for the masses. This was also all happening while the home video market was exploding (and then imploding.)

Basically, the switch from CRTs to digital flat panel displays was a once in generation (possibly once in a lifetime) event. Those market conditions aren't going to be replicated anytime soon.

+1
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-10-2014, 10:42 PM
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Is there a high-end only TV brand? Is it even a viable business model?

I seem to recall Loewe (sp?) back in the days but I don't think they were around too long.

There were 5-8 years ago. I remember Runco & a few others that names escape me.
Pioneer Kuro effectively killed every last one with better picture quality that they could ever hope to achieve at a much cheaper price.
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-11-2014, 05:45 AM
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Is there a high-end only TV brand? Is it even a viable business model?

I seem to recall Loewe (sp?) back in the days but I don't think they were around too long.

http://www.loewe.tv/int/entertainment.html

They had some problems a few month ago
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/10/12/loew-o12.html


are bought by a group of investers german family business owners, as well as former management from Apple and Bang&Olufsen in januari
http://www.dw.de/investor-consortium-rescues-high-end-tv-maker-loewe/a-17369071


^^ if they can stay alive japanese manufacturers certainly can wink.gif
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post #14 of 18 Old 02-11-2014, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not really about display tech. It's about form factor, standards, and affordability.

There was so much more behind the adoption of HDTVs. We had the analog sunset (with the switch from NTSC to ATSC), TVs going from boxy contraptions to flat panels, and affordable big screens for the masses. This was also all happening while the home video market was exploding (and then imploding.)

Basically, the switch from CRTs to digital flat panel displays was a once in generation (possibly once in a lifetime) event. Those market conditions aren't going to be replicated anytime soon.

I don't know if the sea-change to flat panels was the result of a perfect storm of disparate factor coming together at the right time. I'd argue that analog to digital switch caused the rise of flat panels when the TV manufacturers decided to do a clean slate approach. Remember, the TV manufacturers had a heads up regarding the digital switch over well in advance for them to start the development of flat panels but to get the actual flat panel to hit the market took a while. IIRC, the later HD CRTs did have ATSC tuners built in and there were a development to create a "thinner" CRTs. Samsung and a Japanese brand that I can't remember comes to mind.

As to affordability, the early flat panels were in no shape or form affordable. The flat panels didn't become affordable until a few years ago.

Also the form factor is a part of the display technology. It's an inherent characteristic to flat panel technology. That's why we call it "flat" panel after all.

The point is after CRT, it was clear that flat panels were the next big display technology. Just like color TVs were the next big display technology after black-and-white TVs. I don't know what the next big display tech would be. For a while, OLED seemed like it but then that kind of whimpered away.
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post #15 of 18 Old 02-11-2014, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.loewe.tv/int/entertainment.html

They had some problems a few month ago
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/10/12/loew-o12.html


are bought by a group of investers german family business owners, as well as former management from Apple and Bang&Olufsen in januari
http://www.dw.de/investor-consortium-rescues-high-end-tv-maker-loewe/a-17369071


^^ if they can stay alive japanese manufacturers certainly can wink.gif

I don't know if being bought out by an investor consortium can be called staying alive. That's more like vultures picking at a dead carcass.
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post #16 of 18 Old 02-11-2014, 12:33 PM
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I don't know if the sea-change to flat panels was the result of a perfect storm of disparate factor coming together at the right time. I'd argue that analog to digital switch caused the rise of flat panels when the TV manufacturers decided to do a clean slate approach. Remember, the TV manufacturers had a heads up regarding the digital switch over well in advance for them to start the development of flat panels but to get the actual flat panel to hit the market took a while. IIRC, the later HD CRTs did have ATSC tuners built in and there were a development to create a "thinner" CRTs. Samsung and a Japanese brand that I can't remember comes to mind.

As to affordability, the early flat panels were in no shape or form affordable. The flat panels didn't become affordable until a few years ago.

Also the form factor is a part of the display technology. It's an inherent characteristic to flat panel technology. That's why we call it "flat" panel after all.

The point is after CRT, it was clear that flat panels were the next big display technology. Just like color TVs were the next big display technology after black-and-white TVs. I don't know what the next big display tech would be. For a while, OLED seemed like it but then that kind of whimpered away.

You are looking at this from the wrong perspective. I'm not really talking about WHAT people put into their homes, only the market forces driving sales. As you said, the analog to digital switch caused increased development into flat panels. That eventually drove prices down and made them affordable. Once they were affordable, people started buying them because they had something that was significantly different and larger than what they were able to afford before. Increased sales put further pressure on price and accelerated sales. However, you reach a saturation point. People have pretty much ceased replacing SDTVs with HDTVs at this point and most sales now are due to normal replacement rates, wanting to upgrade in size (which has it's own sales limiter eventually), or the purchase of an additional smaller HDTV for a bedroom.

The flat panel revolution was a huge boon to TV sales that sharply peaked and has dropped like a stone for the past two years. The manufacturers wanted to ride that wave forever, but there comes a point where people just don't see the need to buy anymore. All the manufacturers were trying to service the full market while the boon was going on as TVs were just flying off the shelves and they were selling them as quickly as they could build them. Now, that market force just isn't there anymore.

3d didn't recreate it. 4k isn't going to recreate it. Neither is OLED or curved displays. None of those things were/are disruptive as the combination of digital sunset>HDTV>flat panel, they are simply iterations on that same technology. Anything that could be disruptive on that same level is something that likely hasn't been conceived of yet.

It's entirely possible that we've actually taken this TV thing as far as we can take it when it comes to major disruptions in technology. We'll continue to improve on what we have, but the TV itself may be a dead end for the evolution of media consumption in the home. The next iteration is likely to be something that's a complete departure. Already, the younger generations are more used to watching their media on a hand held device rather than sitting in front of a TV. When they grow up and get homes of their own, who's to say they will even purchase a TV?

Things are changing rapidly and I think the days of the big black rectangle being the center of focus for the living room are numbered. At the very least, it may be the thing that's largely ignored outside of special occasions like having a party to watch a game or a new movie.
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post #17 of 18 Old 02-11-2014, 04:12 PM
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I don't know if being bought out by an investor consortium can be called staying alive. That's more like vultures picking at a dead carcass.
Whatever you wanne call it, they are still making and selling LCd TVs..
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post #18 of 18 Old 02-11-2014, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whatever you wanne call it, they are still making and selling LCd TVs..

I stand corrected. I thought it was a typical case of usual suspects buying off a tech company to sell off assets like patents.
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