Product Trends at IFA 2008
As the world's CE trade show IFA 2008 will showcase the complete array of fascinating news from a dynamic and innovative market. From the gigantic flat TV screens down to the minute TV mobile phones, from mobile media gadgets up to the complete sets of home cinema devices – IFA will present the highlights from all areas of entertainment.
In addition, and for the first time this year, the leading brands of home appliances will be present at IFA. And for this segment of the exhibition similar trends come true: comfort, intelligent technologies as well as the efficient use of energy and other natural resources. This adds up to the key-features of guaranteed future, acceptance and economic growth.
When LCD and plasma displays made their way into the living rooms of the users, they created quite some enthusiasm. Because they made an old dream come true: for the first time ever, a TV set could be attached directly to the wall. The next generation goes even further and introduces the next quantum jump: displays will become so slim that they almost melt into the wall. IFA will show a large number of LC displays that are only 1, 5 inch (3, 8 cm) deep. And this is just the beginning. Prototypes demonstrate that even thinner displays are feasible: 0, 4 inch (1 cm) is the next step in the evolution of flat TV. At the same time the displays grow into sizes that seemed impossible just a short time ago. Topmost right now is 150 inch or 3.81 meters.
Larger sized flat TVs with HD ready or Full-HD configuration are conquering the living rooms of Europe with fascinating speed. Hence they generate the alternation of TV generations. More than 90 HDTV programmes are already on the air in Europe – mostly as Pay-TV, though. In Switzerland and Austria, the countries who will host the European Championship in soccer, even the public broadcasters have started to offer HDTV programmes as free-TV. In Germany, the possibility to subscribe to HDTV started already in 2006. The public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have just recently introduced their roadmap to free HDTV. After a series of showcases their regular broadcasting in HDTV will start in February 2010. During IFA 2008 both broadcasters will demonstrate their skills in HDTV with a wide variety of programmes.
HD content is one of the core premium-services by IPTV-companies that start their services all over Europe right now. Many of these new platforms offer a wide range of HDTV-feature films in their video-on-demand sections.
Just another category of high-definition media will have its breakthrough in Berlin at IFA 2008: HD entertainment on Blu-ray disc. As the first quarter of 2008 has already demonstrated, the end of the format competition has led to a strongly increasing demand for optical HD media. This trend can be watched closely at IFA, because there will be a wide variety of new for Blu-ray disc players at the stands.
For years camcorders have shown that they are the right source for HD content. Devices that can record in Full-HD mode are conquering an ever increasing part of the market. The highlights at this year's IFA segment will combine a tremendous HD picture quality with the unbelievably tiny size of the camcorders. The latest generation of these video-cams records the content on feathery flash-memory cards without relying on any mechanical drive.
The trend to extremely flat TV sets has inspired manufacturers of audio equipment to produce an opulence of innovative audio solutions. Compact and small at the same time, brilliant and esthetically perfect as well, that will be the solutions shown at IFA. Slim "sound bars" and surround-sound projectors that reproduce audio with up to seven channels will convince the listeners. At the same time stereo-devices with virtual surround sound will have an impact on the scene.
As a matter of fact, the classical HiFi segment will be represented at the IFA as well. Attractive new technologies are involved when HiFi equipment records complete archives of music on built-in hard disc drives. Via network interface they distribute the recorded content in the entire house. And via MP3 docking station they even imply the entertainment of the mobile gadgets for the entertainment at home.
Mobile devices for entertainment, navigation and communication are the driving growth factors in CE industry. Appliances from this segment of IFA do have a special significance – above all the latest devices and actual highlights in navigation. Guidance through traffic is still their core competence but they are able to do a lot more for consumers. They recognize for instance, that the amount of traffic at a certain time is too big to use the "shortest" route. Or they help the user – based on information from the internet – as city-guides or gourmet guide to the favourite restaurant. Some devices have concentrated on the guidance of pedestrians or bikers. Others offer information about parking lots and the cost for parking. Even watching TV is possible with the latest gadgets as the built-in DVB-T receiver makes it easy to do.
Watching TV with your mobile phone will be another highlight at IFA in Berlin. The decision of the European Commission to introduce DVB-H as the consistent standard for Europe will promote mobile television in a decisive way.
Mobile players for music, pictures and movies will be – although very tiny – one of the biggest and most attractive segments at IFA due to the fact that especially young visitors are very interested in these gadgets.
The variety of multimedia use is constantly growing. Pictures from DSC or from the mobile phone, videos from the camcorder, music from the MP3 player or from the computers hard disc, games from the paddle or feature films from the Blu-ray player – all this content should be available everywhere in the house or the apartment. Intelligent network solutions are in great demand. Wireless and of course in high definition quality. IFA will show that all CE manufacturers are up to date as far as networking is concerned. There will be MP3 players with bluetooth, internet radios, HiFi equipment with WLAN and bluetooth, digital cameras with WLAN-configuration or TV sets with card readers or even ethernet interface.
The IFA news in the segment of domestic electrical appliances are reflected in the trend towards a comfortable lifestyle and healthy nutrition. Actual systems for keeping fresh food or steam cookers represent this tendency as well as new appliances that are equipped with electronic gears for various new ways of usage. Induction cooktops, for instance, high-speed ovens or multifunctional washing machines conquer the modern household while more and more personal care and beauty appliances find their way into modern bathrooms.
The brand manufacturers of CE industry have met the ecological challenges with new technologies and new concepts for their devices. Ecological approaches have been the major tasks for industry in a long period already. Take, for instance, the TV sets whose energy consumption in running mode as well as in stand-by mode have been drastically reduced in the last few years. Hence LC displays and plasma sets are using 25 to 35 percent less energy than three years ago. In stand-by mode there is only one sixth of the energy necessary that was used in 1997. New sets use less than one watt. In other words: A regular 60 watt bulb uses 120 times as much energy as a modern TV set in stand by.
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