The Olympics could spell gold in the Gulf for electronics manufacturers, which forecast a 15 per cent rise in television sales this year.
The London Games, as well as this summer's Uefa Euro 2012 football tournament, are expected to prompt a boom in consumers buying new, bigger TV sets, executives said.
Two major electronics manufacturers expect TV sales in the Gulf to grow by at least 15 per cent this year.
"We are hoping that this year, the industry will be growing by about 15 to 20 per cent," said Vinod Nair, the general manager of the TV division at Samsung Gulf Electronics.
"We will probably match, or maybe slightly exceed that growth," he added. Mr Nair said major sporting events had, historically, prompted an increase in television sales.
"There are a couple of major sporting events happening this year: the Euro [championships], the Olympics," he said. "Usually what we see is that close to these major sporting events, TV sales pick up. And many times, it is more favourable towards the larger screen sizes."
Rival manufacturer Sony also said it expected growth in Gulf television sales. "For TV sales in the GCC region, we expect the market to grow by 15 per cent," said Ashley John, the deputy general manager of the TV group at Sony Gulf.
Samsung recently launched a range of internet-connected smart TVs in Dubai. The top-of-the-range models recognise voice commands, including those spoken in Arabic, as well as hand-motion controls.
"The idea was to make the TV much more intuitive to use and control," said Mr Nair. "The TV can now recognise your voice, it can recognise a range of motions with your hand, and it can recognise your face."
Internet-connected TVs are expected to account for half of all Samsung's TV sales in the Gulf, excluding Saudi Arabia, this year, said Mr Nair.
"Last year, the smart TVs were something like 30 per cent of our sales. This year, we are actually expecting that to be more than 50 per cent," he said.
"In the next two years, it could be that smart becomes the standard feature," he said. "All of the TVs could feature some kind of connectivity … to the internet."
Samsung's smart TV range supports applications similar to those found on mobile phones.
It claims to have about 1,500 applications globally, including one streaming channels from the Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera.
Mr Nair said Samsung was in discussion with other content providers based in the Gulf about providing apps compatible with its internet TVs.
One is the Arabic-langauge Web-TV service Istikana, which has an app scheduled to launch on Samsung TVs this year.
"We're going to do an app on the Samsung Smart TV," he said. "There's a fundamental belief … that TV content belongs on TV," said Samer Abdin, the co-founder of Istikana.