x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

So you yell at the TV? Soon it may listen

Shouting at the television screen and jabbing at the remote control may become a thing of the past with the arrival of smart TVs that listen to users.

LG has launched its new range of smart TVs. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
LG has launched its new range of smart TVs. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Shouting at the television screen and jabbing at the remote control may become a thing of the past with the arrival of smart TVs that listen to users.

LG's new range of smart TVs aims to make the humble device into the hub of home entertainment, combining the internet, traditional television and mobile technologies on to the one box, all its functions controlled by a remote control without numbers. Instead, gestures and voice commands would become the main way of interacting with the television that can browse the web and wirelessly stream a programme on to any connected device.

"Watching channels is not just the main function of televisions, you can access all the content from laptops, mobiles and the internet," said James Kim, product manager of the TV division at LG Electronics Gulf.

Last year 800,000 television sets were sold in the UAE, of which 17 per cent were smart TVs and 15 per cent were 3D sets.

"If you look at the trends, smart TVs in the UAE today comprise approximately 30 per cent of all LED TV sales. In value terms, this is closer to 55-60 per cent of LED TV sales," said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer of Jacky's Electronics.

"We've seen the shift in the UAE for a couple of reasons, but one of the foremost reasons is the fact that the UAE has got fairly high rates of broadband or fibre internet penetration within most households, and that is the basic requirement to use a smart TV."

Samsung, Sony and LG are all pushing the smart TV markets, whose share of UAE TV sales is expected to reach 30 per cent by the end of this year.

"This year the major TV manufacturers are expanding their smart TV line-up and the price gap between normal LED and smart TV will be reduced," said DY Kim, the president of LG Electronics Gulf.

The GCC TV market grew by 5 per cent last year, with Oman the stand-out growth market at 14 per cent.

"The smart TV market here is smaller than Europe and other regions, but the growth is much more," said James Kim. "In the UAE the internet connection and speed is the fastest compared to other GCC markets."

The smart TV segment represents 35 per cent of LG's sales in the region. About 45 per cent of the group's sales come from the premium television segment worldwide.

Smart TVs are likely to put an end to set-top boxes as direct online streaming from the internet, also known as internet over protocol TV (IPTV) is made available.

"It will have an impact. Those services like Pay TV will need to come to smart TV and offer IPTV service," said Mr Kim.

The company has partnered with Time Out Dubai, ADMCsport.com and CNBC Arabia as well as Twitter, Facbeook and Skype to provide smart applications on TVs.

"The market is now moving towards 3D smart TVs. This is now the era of multimedia connectivity and data sharing which is possible only through smart technology," said Neelesh Bhatnagar, the chief executive of Emax Electronics. "So if you have to share data from computer, camera, tablet, mobile phone, then we must have a smart TV at home."