With so many HDTVs offering the same features (Internet connectivity, high definition, etc.), the brand names are becoming irrelevant.
According to a survey of more than 20,000 user reviews of approximately 250 TVs from brands including Sony, Vizio, Panasonic, LC and others, the average ratings were within six percentage points of each other, says consumer electronics website Retrevo.com.
“HDTVs like laptop computers are becoming something of a commodity; there is little to differentiate one brand from another,” wrote Retrevo.com’s director of community and content Andrew Eisner in a report on the company’s blog. (He noted that Sony, which could once charge a premium based on its name alone, now has televisions priced in the same range as Vizio.) “With “sentiment” becoming more uniform across brands it’s going to be harder for one vendor to convince consumers their TVs are the ones to buy.”
Though some televisions will stand apart by offering features such as ultra-high definition viewing or other superior viewing features, the industry is quick to catch up after one company begins to offer the features, Eisner wrote.
But even as the set makers compete in an increasingly commoditized market, some new brands may emerge. First, of course, is the rumored Apple iTV, which may include voice control (à la Siri) or tablet-connectivity. Other entrants into the connected TV arena could include Microsoft (which could integrate some of the Xbox 360 voice control mechanisms into a TV set) and Google, whose GoogleTV has had difficulties catching on, “but we don’t think they will give up control of the living room that readily,” Eisner wrote.
“As we move into the year of the tech ecosystem, Apple is in a perfect position to integrate a TV into its own tech ecosystem where data can move between devices using Airplay.” Eisner wrote. “We’ll be watching Sony, Samsung and other TV giants at CES as we wait for Apple, Microsoft, or Google to make their move.”