Magazine article The Middle East

Raising the Bar in TV Technology: While the Global Recession Has Seen Growth in Most Markets Decline This Year, for the Middle East Region the Electronic and Technology Market Is Bucking the Trend and Continuing to Grow. Research by GfK Retail and Technology in the Middle East Last Year Projected That Profits in the Technology Sector Would Increase to $40Bn

Magazine article The Middle East

Raising the Bar in TV Technology: While the Global Recession Has Seen Growth in Most Markets Decline This Year, for the Middle East Region the Electronic and Technology Market Is Bucking the Trend and Continuing to Grow. Research by GfK Retail and Technology in the Middle East Last Year Projected That Profits in the Technology Sector Would Increase to $40Bn

Article excerpt

Personal computer sales contribute strongly to this increase, but leading the charge against the prevailing economic wind is the market in televisions--specifically LCD and plasma-screen TVs--as consumers in the Middle East look to improve their quality of life, even in such uncertain times.

A key factor behind the healthy growth is the replacement market. As in other regions of the world, consumers in the Middle East are moving away from cathode ray tube (CRT) and plasma-screen technologies and towards liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions as the rapid pace of advancement in television broadcasting, such as high definition, is encouraging the uptake of the latest technology to make more of new services.

Increasing frame rates in LCD technology and falling prices have finally encouraged consumers to make the leap; and once a consumer is bitten by the LCD bug, he or she looks to bigger screens, faster frame rates and other advancements, thus keeping the market from stagnating.

Currently, the most popular screen size in the Middle East is 32 inches. In Iran, however, the taste is increasingly for large screens of 42 inches or more, which have 18% of the market share, compared to 9% in Saudi Arabia.

But screens can only get so big, even in Iran, and pictures only so sharp and vivid before the ever-ravenous consumer starts to want more. Whether the consumer knows it yet or not, what he or she wants is greater interactivity. At least, according to the computer chip manufacturer, Intel.

Future technologies

At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco in September, the future of television was put on 3D display for all to see. It seems that what we want as consumers is not a screen that just sits idly in the corner of a room but a fully interactive experience that gives us more freedom of choice than ever before.

The most startling prediction from the conference is that there will soon be a TV capable device for every person on the planet. This will come as a surprise to the two thirds of the world's population who have yet to even make a telephone call; clearly, some of us in the developed world are going to want one of these devices, not just for every room, but for every pocket.

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More and more people are watching content on their computers and laptops, with convenience often winning out over picture and sound quality; but people are growing weary of watching CSI: Miami on their laptops and want the same convenience of Internet viewing for their televisions, but without the feeling of connecting to the Internet via a computer.

So the challenge for television manufacturers is to take the power of modern computing and the ease of switching on a television--and combine them. Competition from other devices, such as cellphones and netbooks, will mean that manufacturers will have to be ever more innovative and creative to keep up their share.

To this end, a new phrase has been coined: 'digital humanism'. According to the electronics manufacturer Samsung, people want to be able to connect emotionally with future technologies, which are currently lacking warmth and personality. …

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