With IFA 2014 fast approaching, we’ve taken a quick look of what to expect from the international tech fest in the way of smart TVs.
Our colleagues at Recombu Mobile have already compiled their wishlist for what they’re expecting in the way of phones. Here’s what we’re expecting to see from the likes of LG, Panasonic, Samsung, TP Vision for Philips and others.
What is IFA 2014?
IFA – Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin to give it its full name – is an annual trade show that takes place in Berlin. It kicks off on Wednesday, September 3 for press (we’re attending) and opens to the public on Friday, September 5.
A variety of consumer tech products from five-inch phones to 55-inch smart TVs are unveiled and demonstrated at IFA. As more smart TV, smart home and IoT (Internet of Things) products and services hit the market we’re expecting to see more of platforms that tie all of these things together as well as improvements in existing TV technology – things like 4K Ultra HD and curved OLED panels.
While CES in Las Vegas is traditionally where big TV sets are shown off to the world, we’re still expecting to see some big tellies on show at IFA. Here’s what we’re expecting to see from the world’s leading TV manufacturers.
IFA 2014: 4K TVs and Smart TVs
LG has taken the wraps off the world’s first curved 4K OLED TV so we’re expecting to see both the 77-inch 77EC980V and 65-inch 65EC970V models.
Back in July we got to see the 77EC980V and we were given a price of £20,000 and a more modest £6,000 for the 65EC970V.
LG has confirmed that both of these TVs will be on display at IFA 2014, but there’s no mention yet of a smaller 55-inch version for buyers without the necessary living room space and/or purchase power will be doing the rounds.
Panasonic will show off a range of 4K hardware at IFA 2014, including 4K models from its Viera range of smart TVs. Hopefully we’ll get to see a Panasonic 4K set that will play ball with Netflix 4K.
Not content to focus simply on 4K TVs, Panasonic will also demonstrate 4K still and video cameras and show how people can create their own 4K content as part of its ‘4K World’ exhibition. It’s one way of solving the dilemma of there being next to no 4K TV to watch we guess…
Speaking of which, Samsung has promised to bring 4K content from Netflix and Prime Instant Video to its smart TVs this October. Provided your broadband connection is good enough, you’ll be able to stream things like Breaking Bad and House of Cards season 2 in 4K Ultra HD.
Samsung has also announced that Wuaki customers will be able to watch 4K content in the future too, but there’s no word on any titles yet – fingers crossed for Game of Thrones.
IFA 2014 will also see Samsung showing off gaming titles including Need for Speed Most Wanted, Real Football 2014 and Golf Star that’ll be available to download from Samsung’s Smart TV Games Panel.
You’ll be able to control games with a dedicated Samsung gamepad, the Samsung Smart Control or selected Samsung Galaxy phones. It’s not known which phones will be supported yet but we’d guess that the high-end Galaxy S5, the Note 3 and the metallic Galaxy S5 Alpha will be able to play ball.
If that wasn’t enough, Samsung has also announced VidZone, a repository of over 65,000 music videos that can be streamed directly to your Samsung smart TV from VidZone mobile apps. Samsung says you’ll be able to easily queue up playlists of videos including hits from the likes of Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and David Guetta.
Then again, you can easily create playlists on YouTube on virtually every smart TV out there already. Whether or not people will take to a comparatively limited selection of videos is another matter.
TP Vision for Philips
Philips will be showing off its 65PUS9809 – a 65-inch 4K TV set that – at IFA 2014. This TV runs a version of Android, but it’s not the same OS as the new Android TV platform unveiled earlier this year at Google I/O. You’ll be able to access Google Play content on the TV along with a variety of Android games and apps, but you won’t be able to interact with it in the same way you would with Android TV, nor will you be able to comb through the listings of on demand services, Tank Top TV-style.
While it won’t feature Android TV it will feature Ambilight. This is Philips’s patented mood lighting system that lights up the edges of TV sets with colours that match the action on the screen. As well as this, the 65PUS9809 features enhanced brightness and contrast features – Bright Pro and Micro Dimming Premium – to boost picture clarity and make darker areas of the picture more prominent.
Will we get to see any more of Android TV at IFA 2014? Probably not. The Android TV app store isn’t live yet and it’s not expected that the first retail Android TVs will be displayed until 2015. Google isn’t listed as an IFA exhibitor either.
That said, Android TV launch partners Sony and TP Vision for Philips are so we might get to see some early versions of Android TV – nothing’s been confirmed though. It’s unlikely we’ll see anything more advanced than what was shown at I/O 2014, but you never know, there could be a few surprises.
IFA 2014: Smart Home
It’s not just about big TV sets at IFA. We’re expecting to see more smart home services and connected devices hog the limelight this year. Here’s what we’re looking forwards to seeing:
As well as increasing the 4K content portfolio for its smart TV range, Samsung also has big plans for smart homes.
Boo-Keun Yoon, president and one of Samsung’s chief executive officers, will deliver a keynote speech on Friday, September 5 called ‘Bringing Your Future Home.’
Details are thin on the ground, but Yoon is expected to outline Samsung’s plans for smart homes and what the industry as a whole needs to do to meet his vision. Yoon said: “The IFA trade show has a long history of showcasing the latest in technology innovation. Samsung will once again be joining the dialogue at IFA to discuss where true innovation lies today – and how it is transforming our lives and the way we live.”
At the last WWDC event, Apple announced HomeKit, a way for developers of smart home products to make use of iOS features like Siri and Touch ID. It’s possible that Samsung might unveil something similar or unveil a smart home hardware product like Nest or Hive.
Smart heating and air con supplier Tado will be all present and correct at IFA, where it’ll be showing off Tado Care, a new service designed to prevent heating system breakdowns and diagnose problems using real time data.
Tado has recently announced a partnership with HomeServe meaning UK customers will be able to benefit from immediate help in the case of a breakdown.
As well as this, the new version of the Tado mobile apps will be shown off at IFA. We’ll be present at the Tado stand where we’ll be getting a hands-on demo of the new services.