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Podcast #719: Prediction Review for 2015

It's hard to believe that another year has gone by! With that it's time to see how we did with our 2015 predictions. Did the world of HDTV and Home Theater shape up like we thought (or hoped) it would?

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Prediction Review for 2015

It's hard to believe that another year has gone by! With that it's time to see how we did with our 2015 predictions.

This year's scorecard:

  • Ara a respectable three out of five!
  • Braden a decent 2-2.5 out of five.

Ara’s Predictions:

There will be a 65 inch production OLED TV for less than $5,000

Look for LG and Samsung to continue to push OLED technology. They’ll finally figure out that no one wants a curved model and produce a 65 inch flat panel OLED. Bonus prediction - It will be LG that makes this prediction a win for me!

Nailed it!! At the time of this writing not only is there a 65 inch OLED for sale at Amazon but it's made by LG! Its also 4K. LG Electronics 65EF9500 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Flat Smart OLED TV $4997.99

There will be a production Quantum Dot TV available for sale

This is my hedge against the OLED prediction totally failing. We saw the first quantum dot TVs at CES about three years ago. LG is pushing forward with the technology. It produces higher yields than OLED and better pictures than current LEDs so this is a no brainer technology to pursue.

Well as it turns out this was a true statement when I made it. In 2014 Sony had released TVs with Quantum Dot technology and it marketed it as Triluminos. However, it's not very clear that they are still doing this. Regardless this is a fail.

Apple will open up the AppleTV to developers

After seeing the potential of the FireTV from Amazon, Apple will realize the AppleTV is falling behind the competition. Look for a new model (AppleTV 4) with game support that will use iPhones and iPads as controllers. By the way, the 4 in AppleTV 4 stands for 4K. I can dream can’t I??

Predict something enough and it's bound to come true! With the release of the AppleTV 4 Apple opened up the platform to developers. This coming year should make or break the platform!

Apple to stream 4K movies and television programming

If you are going to dream might as well dream big! What good is a new set top box capable of 4K content if you don’t have 4K content. Sure they will support Netflix 4K streams but the real deal will be buying and renting movies and TV shows from iTunes in 4K.

No 4K streaming! Not even a 4K AppleTV. Oh well… Maybe I’ll hold this over for 2016 :-)

Sonos to debut a dedicated 7.1 home theater system

One of the main reasons people don’t have full surround systems is the need to string speaker wire everyplace. Sure the front is easy enough but why should you have to string wire when you can have freedom to place speakers wherever you want. Sonos has the best sounding wireless solution we have heard to date. So why not make a complete 7.1 system without the need of speaker wires? It would be easy to setup with almost no configuration required. When your aren’t watching movies you could repurpose the speakers for music without the need of turning on an amplifier. Now if we can only do something about those pesky power cords!

Success on this one. Sonos has a home theater category on their site (Sonos Home Theater). Yes it uses a sound bar for Left, Center, and Right channels. There is also a subwoofer and you can use four Play:1,3, or 5s for the surrounds.  The Sonos Home theater can be used in music mode when not watching movies so what’s not to like?

Braden’s Predictions:

At least 5 major studio movie releases will be available online concurrent with cinema release

With “The Interview” now out there as a pilot for what is possible, Sony will do it again at least once, and other major studios will try their hand at it as well. Theater owners will threaten not to run the movie(s), but if the studios choose wisely, theater owners will be forced to run them because they’d stand to lose too much in ticket sales if they didn’t.

Complete flop. There were some huge stars in day and date released movies, but most were backed by lesser known production companies. Ethan Hawke in Predestination, Chris Evans in Before We Go, Samuel L. Jackson in Big Game, Hugh Grant in The Rewrite? Speaking of rewrite, if I changed the prediction to major, A-list actors, I’d have nailed it.

Curved televisions will go away

Nobody really gets it. Manufacturers seem to be the only ones that understand the value in the curved screen. Realizing there’s no demand for it, manufacturers will make them disappear.  This means we’ll be on the hunt for another gimmick to boost television sales. Look for 4k to try to fill that gap. But it’ll still be a bit niche, so look for something else as well.  Automation integration in your smart TV? Could this be the year of home automation?

Let’s be generous and go with partial credit on this one. Curved TVs are still around, but not nearly as prominent as they were a year ago. It feels like a very small percentage of televisions on display in most stores are curved anymore, and we really aren’t seeing nearly as many ads for them. Looks like 4K really is the next big thing, at least for 2015.

Live television streaming won’t be coming to your town

Did an Aereo 180 on this prediction, but none of the big players in streaming set top boxes: Apple, Google, Microsoft or Amazon, will add live TV streaming to their box. Despite rumors, it ain’t happening this year. Aereo showed that there’s no way around the retransmission fees, and there’s no way a streaming provider would get premium channels for less than the others pay, so there would be no cost advantage to the consumer. And in most markets streaming would be inferior quality to Cable or Satellite, so it’s a lose-lose for consumers.

Success. This may have been my most conservative prediction, but man am I glad it’s in the list. Keeps me from a total goose egg this year. Sure, you could argue that SlingTV should count for something, but that isn’t a native offering from Apple, Google, Microsoft or Amazon and you still don’t get your local stations. So while you’re streaming live television, you aren’t really streaming live television. Just go with me on that one.

80” Televisions for under $2000

The biggest TVs on the consumer market right now, at reasonable prices, are a few models at 84, 85 and 90 inches. But there are a bunch of options at 80” from all the major manufacturers. The lowest price for an 80” at Amazon is a Vizio model for $2999. Costco has a Sharp 80” for $2499. Manufacturers may see that the next round of upgrades could be driven simply by larger screen sizes. Everyone has an HDTV, but it is somewhere between 40 and 60 inches, and they know they can go bigger. If the price is right, they will. So that price will drop to under $2000 at some point this year. Maybe Black Friday, maybe for another event, but it’ll drop.

Not this year. Several 75” TVs are available now, and were on sale on Black Friday, for less than $2000, but on average the 80” models are closer to twice that rice at around $4000. Mathematically, 75 inches represents 93.75% of an 80 inch screen, so I could take a solid 94% success on this prediction. But unfortunately this was an all-or-nothing and the 80” screens didn’t hit my price. Better luck next year.

Amazon to release a full length motion picture

In an attempt to leapfrog Netflix, Amazon will beat them to the punch with the first original full length motion picture, with all of the production value of a major studio release. They’ve already roped in stars like John Goodman and Jeffrey Tambor for their original TV shows. They’ll get a big name and a good script for their movie. We’ll see a huge PR blast with it, and it’s availability on the Fire TV and Fire Phone, just to show Netflix that two can play in the streaming game.

Awwwyeah. Barely made it, but Amazon Studios' first original movie, directed by Spike Lee is now in theaters. Digital HD will be available December 29th and DVD / Blu-Ray available January 26th. Chi-Raq (rated R) released on December 4, 2015. It is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago and stars Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, and Wesley Snipes.


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