Samsung put on its usual impressive show for the press, although it was heavily product focused. Behind the specifics was the repeated assertion that Samsung was listening to its consumers. This comes from a transition in the company from hardware to software and services, according to BK Yoon, head of Samsung’s Visual Display business. 3D was lightly mentioned (in the claim that Samsung had the #1 position in the market). Of course, while new Galaxy tablet products were launched, the fact that Samsung is currently unable to sell them in Germany due to a court judgment was not mentioned, nor was there any mention of the economy.
LGE made a big push again for 3D, which can be summarized as “Living in 3D” across PC, handheld, and TV. There was a brash start with a 3D video-wall and grossly exaggerated depth effects. These left me cold, as I thought they were now cliché with the game moving on to subtler realism.
However, the big surprise was that LGE had only four plasma TV models on display (compared to around 40 LCD SKUs), and these were not even marked as plasma, carrying only a “P” in their product code. Recently, we’ve heard a lot in the supply chain about reduced plasma builds in the coming quarters, but this is startling. Panasonic also announced a greater overlap of LCD and PDP in its new ranges, even into very large (50”) sizes, and not the 42” single size overlap that it has currently. Samsung is not clear at this time, as its booth was not open to the press.
Finally, the debate everywhere is whether 3D is important to consumers or not, especially in Germany. Our TV replacement study suggests that Germans, in particular, are not receptive to 3D at this time. However, Germans are buying a lot of 3D TVs, which we interpret as a consequence of typically choosing high-end sets—far more than other countries—where 3D is there, like it or not. A German journalist friend told me that one retailer has actually instructed its sales people not to push 3D featuring on a given model unless the customer asks about it.