Business Technology

Monday 11 December 2017

Panasonic set sights on 'ultra high definition' TV sets

Laurent Abadie, chief executive of Panasonic Europe
Laurent Abadie, chief executive of Panasonic Europe
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

While so-called '4K' televisions are set to dominate European TV sales next year, a new wave of '8K' televisions could arrive in Europe within six years, according to the chief executive of Panasonic Europe.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Laurent Abadie said that television sets with twice the resolution of new 'ultra' high definition 4K televisions were on Panasonic's roadmap.

"For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we will be filming in 8K," he said. "You have to see the quality of this to believe it. It genuinely is like looking at real life."

Figures produced by Panasonic at its annual convention suggest that over 50pc of televisions sold in Europe next year will use 4K technology, the equivalent of twice what today's 'full' high definition TVs can produce.

"For us, 4K is the natural evolution and we intend to take a lead here," said Mr Abadie. "We have a clear roadmap to produce the best technology and now that means 4K. I'm sure that will evolve, too."

Mr Abadie said that the television market is a tougher electronics segment than some companies think. "Getting your system right is not easy," he said. "This is one of the reasons that kept Apple from launching its own television set. For Google, it is challenging too."

Last week, the company launched a range of new 'ultra' high definition televisions and wearable cameras. It also expanded its TV Anywhere service which allows Panasonic Viera owners to watch a stream from their television's tuner over the internet on a tablet or smartphone. The service does not apply to feeds from Sky or other premium channels.

Mr Abadie also said that better technology resolutions are causing European television sizes to inch upwards.

"Fifty and 60 inches is not unusual now," he said. "4K lets you watch a much bigger image with unbelievable clarity."

However, the company remains hesitant to re-enter the smartphone or consumer tablet market.

"We are not a company that has a plan to make commoditised units of anything," said Mr Abadie.

"We have tablets in the business to business market, but we have no plans for smartphones like some other companies."

Meanwhile, television sales have become "polarised" in Ireland, accor-ding to Andrew Denham, managing director of Panasonic in Britain and Ireland.

"While the market remains very tough overall in Ireland, the market segment for sets over 47 inches is easily the fastest growing segment," he said.

Panasonic's director of sales in Ireland, Tony Duggan, said that the overall television market in Ireland would be down 10pc in 2014.

"The digital switchover gave the industry a lift here, but it's still a difficult market overall," he said.

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