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Screenless TV: Chinese Brands Changing the Face of the Living Room

Screenless TV Market Analysis and Commentary

16 May 2016 - Innovative technologies for displaying TV content without the glass oblong or staid grey box are set to offer consumers a new viewing concept and a fantastic opportunity to re-invigorate living room design, according to 'A Review of the Global Screenless TV Market' report released by Futuresource Consulting.

The trend has already taken hold in the Chinese market, which has recently witnessed substantial demand for 'Screenless TVs' – an umbrella term referring to both laser TVs and smart projection.

Laser TV's are ultra/short throw projectors that are sold with a range-specific screen, while smart projection are home cinema projectors with integrated smart functionality.

Futuresource Consulting expects brands, including Hisense, Inovel, XGIMI and JmGO, to break into the US market encouraging at least one major consumer electronics manufacturer to follow suit and attract a growing number of tech and design savvy early adopters.

"Chinese companies are creating beautiful, innovative designs and there's been a groundswell of development from them over the past couple of years which shows no signs of stopping," says Claire Kerrison, Futuresource Consulting analyst and co-author of the study. "The next stage of strategic growth for these companies is international expansion."

While not likely to erode the massive market share of the traditional LCD TV any time soon, the recent rapid growth of 'Screenless TVs' is expected to account for 75% of global projector sales to the home by 2021.

Brands moving into this area including TCL and Hisense are doing so at least in part due to concerns over the long-term profitability of the flat panel TV market.Hisense has claimed that projection is the future of the main home display and that it could "overthrow" LCD TVs – an attention-grabbing statement, not least because it derives from one of the world's leading TV manufacturers.

"Screenless TV solutions offer an array of benefits that cannot be matched by flat-panel TVs: flexibility; a low-cost 100-inch display, mobility to different locations and reduced eye-strain," says Kerrison. "Moreover, laser TVs offer consumers a new concept of content viewing – one that could easily be coupled, and potentially become synonymous, with the rise of the connected home."

However, it is the design of these solutions rather than their functionality that has led to the recent surge in demand. They are modern, sleek and completely different from the standard grey boxes to which projector users have become accustomed.

"Chinese brands have a refreshing new take on projectors, marketing them more as 'entertainment systems' that add to a living room's aesthetics than just a mere display solution," says Kerrison. "They have not only created stylish designs but these companies have the capacity and resources to build the sales channels and promote these innovative products aggressively and at scale."

In its report, Futuresource Consulting explores the complex weave of factors that will impact both short and long-term growth of this burgeoning and disruptive product segment. Will projection really be the future of the consumer display? In China (which attributed to over 20% of global TV shipments in 2016) at least, it could well be…


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