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Digital Life
 

Time to buy a new TV... ole, ole, ole!

World Cup fans snap up big sets with 3-D, UHD and smart functions

Published on May 30, 2014 5:00 AM
 
-- PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

Brazil 2014 kicks off in two weeks' time. But before you rush out to pick out that supersized flatscreen TV set hoping to watch all 64 World Cup matches in 4K resolution or stereoscopic 3-D glory, you may want to check your options before you get upset about your new TV.

Though 25 World Cup matches were broadcast in 3-D for South Africa 2010, Fifa has yet to make public its decision on stereoscope for the 2014 games. Many have concluded that 3-D will be sidelined for Brazil 2014.

Sony and Fifa have agreed to produce three full matches in 4K resolution, also known as ultra high definition (UHD), but the broadcast of these three matches also depends on territorial broadcasters and if they are able to air the matches in the bandwidth-intensive 4K resolution.

For now, the three 4K matches will be:

  • One game from the round of 16 on June 28;
  • A quarter-final on July 4; and
  • The final on July 13.

Only Brazil's TV Globo, which has been testing 4K broadcast, has announced plans for public 4K broadcasts for the three matches.

In Singapore, both SingTel and StarHub say they will show all matches in 1,080i high-definition (HD) resolution, instead of the slightly sharper 1,080p format, and the matches will be available in both stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

All matches will be available via set-top boxes and the mioTV Go app, but not content apps such as the mioTV Play app on Samsung smart TV sets.

StarHub will carry SingTel's exclusive World Cup content under the Media Development Authority's cross-carriage rule. It will not offer On-Demand or Catch-Up services for World Cup matches, as "these options must be offered by SingTel before they can be cross-carried on StarHub TV", its spokesman said.

Two sets or more at home

MediaCorp will broadcast four matches over free-to-air TV and SingTel will broadcast live matches at 30 People's Association Community Clubs islandwide (visit www.pa.gov.sg for screening schedules).

The continuing confusion over broadcast quality and availability has not deterred football fans like Mr Abu Bakar Abdullah, 41, a commercial pilot.

He spent $2,000 on a 60-inch full-HD LED TV from Courts this month, to replace the five-year-old 50-inch set in his living room.

He said: "I've always wanted a smart TV and the World Cup is a good reason to upgrade. I want to see every blade of grass on the pitch during the game."

The expected demand for new TVs for the World Cup has prompted retailers to offer bigger promotions, including free subscription to the World Cup, on top of discounted prices, to tempt people to buy bigger TV sets.

Courts Singapore's commercial director, Mr Tim Nolan, said: "The World Cup is one of the most-viewed events globally and customers started shopping for their TVs as early as April.

"We have observed that most consumers have an average of two TV sets per household and most go for bigger screens when they replace their old TVs."

Mr Gerard Tan, account director for digital world at the research company GfK Asia, said purchases of TV sets with 46-inch or larger displays have increased by 36 per cent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same period last year.

While the value and volume of TV sales overall has declined, demand for sets that offer 3-D and smart features, such as an app store, grew between 7 and 9 per cent in the first quarter, over the same period last year.

UHD TVs are also driving sales. About 1,400 were sold in the first quarter, twice as many as in the previous quarter.

While UHD and curved TVs are drawing buyers, nothing works as well as a price cut, said Mr Nolan.

He added: "Consumers are always looking for value and with the spiralling rate of technological innovation, brands are able to integrate features at prices that do not burn a hole in pockets."

sherwinl@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on May 28, 2014.