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Day 6 - IFA International

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News Jubilee

News Jubilee IFA is record event The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of gfu looks back at the 50th IFA Dr Rainer Hecker says IFA 2010 is a record event IFA 2010 is a record event, not only because it’s a jubilee event, but also because of the key figures such as rented space, exhibitor numbers, international press and more importantly, order volume, which we can already say is above last year. While it is too early to give a final figure, I believe that this year’s show will have generated at least e3.5bn in concrete orders. The TV business is a driving force for the entire Consumer Electronics market this year, and the new lifestyle, added comfort and increased energy efficiency are the main factors driving the Home Appliance sector. Of course, on the TV side, the biggest hype is around 3D, but on the other side, from a business point of view, we must not forget the merging of Internet and TV in the living room, meaning the Internet is coming into the living room, and the worldwide web will give us new rules and regulations in upcoming business. The growing importance of the Internet in our lives has been underlined by the presence for the first time here for a keynote, of Dr Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. It is a new dynamic that we have to face, and from a business point of view, it will perhaps be more attractive and generate a bigger business volume than 3D. I am convinced that the TV business will continue to be a driving factor in the European and global economies, due to the fact that we are still in an early period in HDTV and we will have new applications in 3D TV, combined with new panel formats, such as 21:9, and then the joining of Internet with TV. All this puts us in a favourable position for people to replace their old TVs after only four or five years, rather than eight to ten years as used to be the case. Today, the average number of TVs in each household remains at 1.5 and this will no doubt increase to an average of above two. This means 30% growth in the market. These are interesting developments we can clearly foresee and it is not very difficult to forecast additional business growth. Whose thumb is on the remote button? Broadcasters and manufacturers jockeying for position to deliver web services Panellists at this year’s medienwoche "Once again disruptive change in technology and consumer behaviour is sparking a standards debate",Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung TV journalist Wolfgang Tunze says, and you can already watch this developing in Germany. Look no further than your TV. “What do consumers want? Do consumers want really integrated televisions capable of showing all services?” says Tunze. “Or do we face a development where the broadcasters want to use their own proprietary technologies, available as top boxes and receivers?” Tunze is the organiser of the medienpolitik@IFA, a set of panel discussions on current political topics in Germany that impact media business. One of the major issues is the convergence of Internet services and the TV set – an intersection long pursued but seemingly finally in reach, as huge set manufacturers produce sets which are Web-enabled out of the box. This development has led to a pan-European standards initiative called HbbTV, which is backed by several consumer electronics firms and TV broadcasters. Based on standards including OIPF (Open IPTV Forum), CEA, DVB and W3C, HbbTV sets minimum requirements for implementation of rich broadcast and Internet services in television. Tunze says that delivering Internet content on television raises the possibility of a standards war as companies defend their business models. All it takes is a few players pulling away, and the standard starts to look shaky – so HbbTV is not settled yet. “As Internet and TV meet on the same screen, this new phenomenon prompts different philosophies,” Tunze says. One is that setmakers create Internet portals and manoeuvre to sell both hardware and content. “The hardware would be based on access standards, which differ from manufacturer to manufacturer,” the medienwoche organiser said. “The other option is to create a common standard.” Tunze says that HbbTV allows broadcasters to send additional signals along the bandwidth signal carrying programming, and if a viewer presses the “Web” button on the remote, it pulls up extra Internet content. Some German broadcasters like these possibilities but want to change the standard in order to ensure that only their Web content is linked to a given programme. “So the question is whether it will be adopted,” Tunze says of HbbTV. “If you say, ‘I use the standards but I want something more,’ the standard never works.” IFA International • Wednesday, 8 th September 2010 7

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