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Samsung's TV range planned out to 2014

It's not quite a 500 year plan as Mitsubishi is supposed to have had, but Samsung's TV people have planned its range of Smart TVs out to 2014, with the company saying its well prepared to take on any forthcoming Apple TV challenge.

Everyone knows that the technologies they buy today are already obsolete, with new models but months away and newer models still in the R&D labs of technology makers and set to come soon.

Despite this knowledge, people buy what's available in stores today, clearly because they either have a need or a desire for something now - not months or years down the track.

Technology companies also have to be careful about what's coming from their competitors, and have to try and create products that will remain feature and price competitive - no matter what shiny new feature a competitor releases.

Thus, at CES this year, came reports of all kinds of advanced televisions able to run apps and access the Internet, TVs with super thin profiles, TVs that respond to motion controls and your voice, TVs running Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Google TV, TVs running anything and everything - but an Apple OS.

Clearly, all these TV manufacturers are doing is placing ever more advanced computers into what was once merely a 'dumb' screen.

These TV computers are getting smarter, faster, more capable - and are paired with screens of ever higher definition.

And of course with Siri having done its bit to kick off the voice interface revolution, despite all the work by many that has gone on before, your next TV may well be one that responds to your hand movements and your voice by itself, just as an Xbox 360 and Kinect can deliver to any modern TV right now. 

One report comes from Fairfax Media's Asher Moses, who was sent by Samsung to CES as one of its guests, and who reported on Samsung's ambitions to dominate in TV and fight any Apple TV initiative tooth and nail.

Australian Samsung executive Phil Newton explained that Samsung wasn't worried about any future Apple TV, was well positioned as a complete manufacturer of all parts of its TV chain, had plenty of its own innovations and already had TVs planned out to 2014 - with his exact quotes available to read at the link above.

Concluded on page two, please read on!

Clearly, with all of the amazing TVs on display at CES this year, many other manufacturers would claim something similar, but even so, Apple remains the dark horse.

After all, with Apple having revolutionised mp3 players, mobile Internet devices, smartphones, tablets and 'ultrabook' notebooks, there's every chance that Apple could do the exact same thing for TVs, especially given Steve Jobs' quote that he'd 'cracked' the TV interface at last.

There was also the 3D phenomenon, but instead of being a must-have feature, it has simply become yet another feature.

Heck, even Aldi in Australia is currently selling a 47-inch 3DTV for less than $1000 - it is $799 from memory, and one store I was at yesterday still had one in stock.

This leads to a problem that Smart TV makers already have: TVs that are too expensive - especially when many flat-screen TVs are at or below the magical $1000 threshold like the 3D enabled model from cut-price sellers Aldi selling their own 'Bauhn' brand.

So, if Apple does come out with its own TV, instead of simply another version of its Apple TV box, there will be many factors at play to see whether any Apple TV will be successful, or not, as an Apple launch isn't a guarantee of absolute success.

2012 looks like it will be quite a year for couch potatoes, whether there's a whole new level of interactivity, or not.

The biggest question, however, will be whether consumers will flock to these feature packed expensive new TVs, be they from Samsung, Apple or anyone else, or whether they'll just buy a cheap model from just about anywhere these days, and will choose to make it even 'smarter' than current 'Smart TVs' by plugging in someone's set-top box, an Xbox with Kinect, a PC or Mac, or a 2012-era Apple TV box instead.

And that will depend on how much money is in people's pockets, and whether they have any left after buying an iPad 3, ultrabook or some other gadget.

After all, is a new TV brimming with so-called 'smart' features isn't all that important if you already have a big-screen TV of some kind, along with gadgets that can already plug into that TV?

As noted, that's the big question for this year. Spend your money on a new smart TV, or some other more portable gadget that you can use anywhere and everywhere?

The answer to that question is up to you!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.