Samsung teases new TV launch at CES 2013

While the iTV rumors have continued unabated right throughout 2012, little concrete supply chain leads do we have of Apple building a full-blown television set. Meanwhile, the sunset of Japan’s television business and ongoing struggles of Sharp, Sony and Panasonic combined have paved the way for the rise of new competition from South Korea, chiefly Samsung Electronics whose Smart TV sets have taken over the entire television market by storm. And as Apple is pondering its next move, its frenemy is building up on the CES 2013 hype with a teaser that promises a new TV launch…

The provocative and amusing video depicts a bunch of TVs coming out of their home and a shopping mall and leaving on a trip, riding a bus and a skateboard. Apparently all the TVs are gathering around a large CES-like venue and staring in the same direction as the tagline appears:

All the TVs are rushing to see Samsung’s new TV.

Samsung writes on YouTube:

As Samsung prepares to unveil a new TV at CES that is unlike anything the world has ever seen, all other TVs are rushing to see the new TV. Join us and be sure not to miss the breathtaking moment just before the new TV is finally revealed.

The company’s official blog hints that the mysterious large TV set featured in the teaser clip “will provoke curiosity as it is expected to be a newest innovative TV that Samsung is going to unveil at CES 2013”.

There’s little we can decipher from the teaser, but there’s no doubt that Samsung is keen on keeping the Smart TV momentum going. The company’s high-end TV sets feature dual-core processors and run apps and games like Angry Birds with gesture-based controls, voice input and tight integration with their other consumer electronics.

It will be interesting seeing where we go from here.

I have had a chance to try out a number of the latest high-end TV sets from Panasonic, Samsung and LG. While recent technological advancements did breathe a new life into the decades-old television concept, we’re not quite there yet.

My 50-inch Panasonic Viera TV set runs apps like Facebook and YouTube, but I ain’t sold – the apps are slow, clunky and fugly as hell. Apps on the Samsung Smart TV platform are better, but still leave a lot to be desired.

Samsung Smart TV (image 001)

Gestures and voice control are both nice additions, but salespeople tell me people seldom use these features because the novelty quickly wears off.

It is pretty clear to me – and to the rest of the industry – that TV makers are eagerly anticipating Apple’s solution to the TV problem. From my talks with TV executives, perhaps unsurprisingly all the key players are adamant that Cupertino will enter the TV set making biz in a big way sooner than later.

And while Google sold Motorola’s set-top box unit, Apple’s $99 hockey puck has been doing pretty well. Nonetheless, analysts, industry figures, big media and users are all predicting that Apple is going to step up its game with a branded television set in 2013 or 2014.

Tim Cook said that the living room remains “an area of intense interest” for his company and rumors have persisted that Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn has been testing 46 to 55-inch Apple TV sets.

Taking it all in, what’s your read on the iTV meme?

Is it just a pipedream, an enduring fantasy of sorts?

Is Apple going to make its move?