Samsung was the No.1 flat panel TV vendor in 2011 and despite a seemingly imminent threat from Apple, the company is not concerned much about the “iTV.” While speaking with Pocket-lint, Samsung’s AV product manager Chris Moseley explained that TV sales are driven for the most part by picture quality and in that respect, Samsung can’t be touched. “We’ve not seen what they’ve done but what we can say is that they don’t have 10,000 people in R&D in the vision category,” Moseley said. “They don’t have the best scaling engine in the world and they don’t have world renowned picture quality that has been awarded more than anyone else.” Read on for more.
“TVs are ultimately about picture quality. Ultimately. How smart they are…great, but let’s face it that’s a secondary consideration. The ultimate is about picture quality and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality,” Moseley told Pocket-lint. “So, from that perspective, it’s not a great concern but it remains to be seen what they’re going to come out with, if anything.”
We spent some time with the new HDTVs Samsung was showing off at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and we have to say, Moseley is right to brag. Picture quality is and should be the main draw when it comes to TVs, and Samsung is clearly a leader in that regard. To compound matters, recent rumors suggest that OLED panel supply constraints forced Apple to instead opt for IGZO panels in its upcoming HDTV rather than the gorgeous OLED panels vendors like Samsung and LG will use in multiple models this year.
Apple’s success in the TV business is anything but guaranteed — Apple TV remains a “hobby” of sorts that has not seen wide adoption — but to not prepare for the impact of the world’s most successful technology company on one of your core businesses is a terrible, terrible idea. Just ask Nokia, RIM or Palm.
We’re hoping Moseley’s comments were intended mainly as a bit of showmanship, and Samsung’s CES showing suggests that is indeed the case. Despite the fact that the feature set surrounding Apple’s iTV is nothing more than hearsay, Samsung was among a number of companies at this year’s show to display TVs with voice and gesture controls. Apple’s popular Siri solution has long been rumored to replace many of the functions currently performed by a remote control on its upcoming HDTV, and vendors like Samsung and LG are said to have displayed similar technology in an attempt to cut Apple off at the pass.
The simple truth is that Apple’s TV will impact Samsung’s HDTV business, though the extent to which it will be impacted remains to be seen. Apple’s brand power and design prowess alone will move units, and innovative features like Siri integration and iOS app support will only help matters. Add the possibility of a unique new content distribution model, and the industry could easily be in trouble.
Samsung has thus far been the only company to grow and keep pace with Apple in the smartphone business, though — in terms of shipment volume, not profits — so if there is one company that can withstand the inevitable impact of Apple’s entry into the TV space, it may indeed be Samsung.