UAE leads Gulf in Smart TV

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UAE leads Gulf in Smart TV

DUBAI - The UAE is tops in the Middle East’s Smart TV segment, and it is expected to continue its leadership as more and more consumers in the country are realising its benefits, a top official of Samsung Gulf said.

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Sat 26 Nov 2011, 9:56 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:06 AM

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Vinod Nair, Samsung Gulf Electronics’ CTV business general manager, said that users recognise the efficiency of Smart TV, therefore revving up demand for it, as well as developing the need for digital-convergent TVs.

The UAE market, and Dubai in particular, is the right place to sell Smart TVs.

“With the support of the right technology infrastructure and the roll-out of fibre-optic cables, the UAE market leads the Gulf with a 65 per cent market share in the Smart TV segment.”

“The UAE demographic also compliments Smart TV sales as users are able to access local, regional and international content.”

Nair added that this year alone in the UAE, Samsung has secured agreements with various entities to ride on its Smart TV services, such as Dubai Media Incorporated to stream all their channels in 24 countries, Arabian Radio Network to develop an application to stream all their radio channels and YuppTV that allows users to stream over 60 Indian channels.

It has also tied up with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority for the first business application allowing customers to view and pay their bills. Excerpts from the interview:

How have Smart TVs changed the game in the home entertainment industry?

Smart TV is a new generation of television, aggregating content from many different mediums and providing users with instant access to an array of content and applications through Internet connectivity. Smart TVs also provide great offline features such AllShare and USB 2.0 Movie. By blending the best capabilities of TV, PC and mobile technologies, Smart TV provides a more customisable experience, enabling consumers to enjoy content stored on many connected devices from the largest, most immersive screen at home. By also allowing users to explore, discover and engage with what they want, when they want it, Smart TV provides an interactive and personalised experience in family rooms everywhere,beyond just Web browsing and broadcast television. Smart TVs will enhance consumers’ perceptions of television in much the same way that smart phones changed the face of mobile devices.

After Smart TV, what is the next step? Or, how can Smart TV be improved?

Smart TV is where the TV industry is headed in the current market, as consumers’ desires shift toward greater choice, personalisation, communication and connectivity. As we head into 2012, we expect the further development of the Smart TV ecosystem. We are continually dedicated to enhancing the Smart TV user experience by establishing partnerships with a variety of content and technology companies — enabling Samsung Smart TV to offer the richest and limitless content choices available today.

How have people adapted to and accepted Smart TVs?

According to industry reports, the UAE has the fastest broadband service of all Middle Eastern countries. The UAE also has the highest Internet usage amongst the Gulf, with 69 per cent of its population having Internet access. The average Internet connection in the UAE is around 3.92 megabits per second, more than double the rate of most countries in the region. A rate of two megabits per second is enough to carry VHS-standard video streams. For UAE consumers, this means having the ability to discover a new world of web connected TV entertainment that will allow them to easily stream a 3D movies, browse the Web, explore apps, chat real time and find several other types of new interactive TV content.

What kind of R&D is Samsung applying in this segment? How much is being invested in this?

Last year, Samsung spent $8 billion on research and development. This number accounts for 5.9 per cent of global sales, one of the highest any company has spent. The R&D investment spent on Samsung’s AV division was mainly channelled to further developing Smart TVs.

How are Samsung’s revenues in the Smart TV segment? What is your market share?

Regionally, in the first half of 2011, Samsung introduced the full range of its latest generation of Smart TVs across the Gulf region. Samsung Smart TV sales have since accounted for approximately 30 per cent of Samsung’s total LED TV sales during the last six months, indicating high interest among regional customers for the smart services and applications developed to date. Samsung’s market share in the Smart TV segment in this region is a robust 45 per cent. Samsung has also held the top spot in Internet-connected TV since 2008 in the US, with more than a 45 per cent market share in dollars according to a September 2011 NPD report. Also, GfK reported that as of September 2011, Samsung holds 33.9 per cent of the Web connected TV market share in Europe — a significant lead above all other Smart TV competitors.

How important is technology in the daily undertakings of people, especially in a place like Dubai?

No matter where we live today, technology is an important part of our everyday lives. We rely on technology to wake us up in the morning, pay our bills and have digital meetings with business partners and loved ones across the world. In a place like Dubai, with advanced infrastructure and a cosmopolitan population, technology plays a major role in our daily lives, sometimes without us even knowing it. -

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