This past summer, for the first time in the history of LCDTVs, the average selling price (ASP) of a 42” LCDTV dropped below that of a Smartphone. Simultaneously, the excess capacity of LCDTV panels hit its highest level in years with almost no growth forecasted between 2010 and 2011. So what does this tell us?
Firstly, dropping prices will not necessarily sell more LCDTVs. Today’s average consumer has budget for only one big-ticket electronic item, and the Smartphone seems to be winning the purchase. Consumers can be very discerning in appreciating value. A Smartphone with a 3.5” display has so many built-in communication, productivity and entertainment capabilities that it is hard for a 42” (not-so-smart) LCDTV to compete with it.
Secondly, to make the TV equally as exciting to consumers, we need pervasive, long-range innovation that is similar in scope to (but does not mimic) the mobile space. The TV needs to morph from a solitary viewing device (much like mobile phones morphed beyond mere calling devices) into a more engaging platform that includes purchasing capability (Near-Field-Communication, anyone?), audio and video communication, streaming, apps, Internet and other enhancements. Additionally, LCDTVs need to seamlessly tie-in with the pad and phone hardware beyond simply being able to watch and pause video from one device to another. While, there has been progress in these areas individually, questions remain about their collective usage for maximizing user experience. How it all gets put together will be the key.
Meanwhile, recent dramatic advancements in hardware such as Wi-Fi, HDMI, LED, Dimming, OLED and Energy-savings technologies are finally providing brilliant video quality at low costs. The software ecosystem just needs to catch up.