HIGH-DEFINITION television (HDTV), which offers five times better picture resolution than standard definition and arguably the most important development in TV technology in years, took the spotlight at the 2005 Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin, Germany.
With HDTV broadcast services taking off in Europe over the next 18 months, consumers seeking better picture quality and viewing experience already face a dizzying choice of products from consumer electronics industry players that turned up in full force at the fair.
Mindful that great content will be the catalyst for consumer uptake of HDTV, Royal Philips Electronics, represented by Philips Consumer Electronics (CE), announced it had teamed up with Germany's leading pay TV operator Premiere as category sponsor at the FIFA World Cup 2006, kicking off next June in Munich.
Disclosing this during a press conference at IFA, Philips CE Germany chief executive officer Ronald de Jong said the tie-up meant that Premiere would broadcast all matches of the 2006 World Cup in HD.
“Football has always been very stimulating for the TV market. So I am very optimistic when it comes to market expectations,” he said, adding that consumers could today decide for TV revolution by picking a TV that was flat and of high definition.
Expressing optimism for the HDTV demand, he said in 1954 when the World Cup was first broadcast on TV, there was strong impact to TV sales. In 1974 when the game was broadcast in colour for the first time, TV sales likewise went up.
On the tie-up with Premiere, de Jong said: “HDTV is not just another business and Philips and Premiere wanted more than a business relationship. We created a real partnership. Our aim is to prepare the market for the coming TV revolution together.”
Philips is the leading TV brand in Germany and most of its flat-TV range is HD-ready. One of the leading media spenders in Germany, Premiere offers 27 channels to more than 2.5 million subscribers.
Philips will be delivering the HDTV set-top box that is required for Premiere's HDTV service starting at the year-end.
“Taking these facts together would be a good reason for a strong business relationship with Premiere ? and both have a strong commitment to the World Cup,” de Jong said.
He said the partners would have joint promotions in TV and in print, and joint activities at point-of-sale outlets where consumers would “get in contact with the future of TV”.
To deliver “the true promise of HDTV to consumers”, 90% of all Philips' flat TVs will be HD-ready by year-end from 85% currently, according to Philips CE chief executive Rudy Provoost.
HD-ready Philips products include the latest Cineos FlatTV sets with Pixel Plus 2HD and Ambilight 2. In addition, Philips will bring to market HD set-top boxes and other related products.
“HDTV represents a quantum leap forward in picture quality, and we will make sure our products are ready, enabling consumers to buy future-proof products so that as HDTV spreads, they don't get left behind,” Provoost said. – By Elizabeth Chong
Did you find this article insightful?