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Friday
Dec212012

Podcast #562: 2012 Year in Review 

We go out on a limb every year and try to predict what the new year will bring in the realm of HDTV and Home Theater. More often than not, that limb snaps and we come crashing down.  Every so often we get a glimpse into the crystal ball that comes out close to accurate. Let’s take a look back at what we thought would happen in 2012 to see how well we did on the predictions.

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2012 Year in Review

We go out on a limb every year and try to predict what the new year will bring in the realm of HDTV and Home Theater. More often than not, that limb snaps and we come crashing down.  Every so often we get a glimpse into the crystal ball that comes out close to accurate. Let’s take a look back at what we thought would happen in 2012 to see how well we did on the predictions.

Prediction #1: The world will not end in 2012.

Braden’s Predictions

Wal-mart and Vudu will make a big play
Wal-mart has a ton of money, a gazillion customers and the highest quality streaming service available today. They are going to use that clout to make a big play in the new release streaming market this year. This could go one of two ways, either they will push into the realm of Ultraviolet and give away streaming versions of movies if you buy the disc at the store or online, or they will finally introduce a subscription service for new releases. Either way, they will shake things up a bit.
Score: 25% - The Vudu/Ultraviolet integration took hold, and Wal-mart seems to be pushing the service. They also unveiled the ‘disc to digital’ service.  But nothing earth shattering.

Netflix will remain fairly quiet
Trying to bounce back from a dismal 2011, Netflix will try to quietly rebuild the brand that once was.  No more crazy announcements of billions of dollars spent on pointless content, no more doubling prices over night, and especially no more Qwikster, we’re one service, no we’re two services, no we’re one service again goofiness. Netflix will spend 2012 trying to erase 2011 from our memory by staying out of the spotlight and just doing business.  This means announcements like new releases or a live TV service in 2012.
Score: 100% - Netflix has a slow, rocky year, but no big announcements or transactions.

The 3D market will evolve significantly
Realizing that consumers simply don’t care about Active 3D technology, manufacturers will try to reinvent the 3D TV market in 2012.  Many manufacturers will switch to passive technology and give away glasses by the truckload.  Several companies will attempt to release glasses-free 3D at prices consumers would actually consider.  Active 3D will start to fade away, like the CRT and DLP TVs of yesteryear.  Consumer priced Passive 3D projectors will come to market that either don’t require a special screen, or the special screens will be available from all the standard screen companies for the same prices as the standard screens today.
Score: 0% - Same old, same old

Still no live TV via streaming
Despite the fact that Google, Apple, Dish, Verizon, {insert company name here} are talking about making all your favorite broadcast TV networks available for a fraction of the cost over your home Internet connection, it won’t happen this year.  The Broadcasters and established distributors are still too powerful.  We’d be elated if it did happen, but 2012 is still a bit too soon for this.  Sure you may see pockets of “test cities” but for the vast majority of us, we’ll still need Cable or Satellite.
Score: 100% - Google launched TV service in Kansas City, but that’s it for 2012

Overall score: 56%

Ara’s Predictions

Apple will stop calling the AppleTV a hobby
Its a safe bet that a new AppleTV set top box will be introduced this year. Odds are that it will support 1080p and will have the same chip that’s in the iPhone 4S. What I claim that will set the AppleTV 3 apart is apps. My prediction is that Apple will open up the platform to application developers and that’s when the platform will really thrive. While you can do many of these things on a Roku its the iTunes eco-system that sets iThings apart from other devices.
Score:  0% - AppleTV is still a hobby but there is a strong rumor that by spring of next year the platform will be opened up for developers.

Video On Demand Systems from Cable Companies will significantly hurt Netflix’s business
We’ve all seen VOD offerings on every cable or satellite service. This year they will have more and better titles sooner than they do today. I am predicting that some companies will offer subscription services similar to Netflix with titles that Netflix can’t obtain. The fact that the service fees will be rolled into the monthly fee will make it simple for subscribers to say yes. Consumers will continue to drop Netflix in droves which will cause a major management shakeup.
Score: 0% - While VOD from cable has grown there is no evidence that it has hurt Netflix.

Forget about 3D, 4K is where its at
Its pretty clear that 3D did not spur the higher margin TV sales that manufacturers were hoping for. As a result, manufacturers are looking for a new technology that will separate consumers from their money. A 4K TV could just be that technology. At last year’s CES we saw a 4K TV that looked quite good with 1080p content being fed to it. I am predicting that we will see a 50 inch 4K set on sale for $2,500 or less. And with this TV hitting the streets video scaler companies will rejoice. They now have a reason to sell you hardware that will scale and process 1080p video into glorious 4K video!
Score: 25% - I’ll take some credit here. 4K is the rage and we are seeing plenty of manufactures come to market with 4K TVs. Just none of them at 50 inches for less than $2,500.

A Studio will stop selling Stand alone DVDs
With Blu-ray players below $100 for more than a year now market penetration of the players is at about 25%. That number will hit 75% in about three years (side prediction). To make that happen faster look for at least one studio (probably Sony) to offer a combo Blu-ray/DVD package as the only option for a new release movie. The thought here is that some will spend the $75 or so to buy a Blu-ray player and watch the same movie in glorious HD.
Score: 25% - Yes I am stretching it by claiming 25% credit. Combo packs are everywhere and they are not much more expensive than the stand alone blu-ray version. But no studio has given up on releasing a standalone DVD. I guess they may be worried that people who still only have DVD will think they have no options. Hey I have an option.... go buy a Blu-ray player :-)

Overall score: a paltry 12.5%

 

 

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