TV makers battle for survival in Las Vegas

THE WORLD’S biggest TV manufacturers yesterday staked their claims for dominance of the next generation of sets, unveiling a host of super-detailed and internet-connected sets they hope will revitalise a struggling market.

Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and LG all used yesterday’s curtain-raiser to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to debut bigger and brighter TVs that they hope will grab consumer attention away from a recent shift towards smartphones and tablet computers.

Faced with falling prices and increasing competition for high-definition TVs, as well as the lower-than-expected demand for 3D TVs, the Asian giants have struggled. Sharp and Panasonic in particular seeing multi-billion dollar losses.

Yesterday, they all appeared to counter this by revealing a range of “ultra-high definition” TVs with screens around four times as sharp as current high-definition ones, some of which will cost upwards of £10,000.

Another key theme of CES yesterday was “smart TVs” – sets that connect to the internet to deliver extra services, and can be controlled with smartphones or by voice. Development of these has been ramped up as rumours of an Apple-made TV intensify.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2013 ROUNDUP

Imagination and CSR lifted
British microchip firms CSR and Imagination Technologies both saw shares rise yesterday as the companies hit Las Vegas. CSR unveiled a range of new wireless audio products, while Imagination began a gruelling week of closed-door investor meetings.

Nvidia launches Android
Graphics chip firm Nvidia unveiled a handheld games console which will run on Google’s Android software. The console, which will play downloadable games, will pose a challenge to Sony and Nintendo’s handheld consoles.

HTC tumbles as Lenovo boosted
Taiwanese smartphone firm HTC saw a 91 per cent drop in profits in the final quarter of 2012, as it was squeezed by the dominance of Apple and Samsung. Meanwhile, Chinese computing firm Lenovo said its fledgling smartphone business was turning profitable.

Google chairman visits North Korea
Google chairman Eric Schmidt was one technology figure not seen at CES, landing in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang yesterday for a visit. The country has been criticised for allowing few PCs to access the world wide web.