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However, we’ll see the first full-size TVs that use organic light-emitting diodes in place of LCDs. LG Electronics has confirmed that it will be showing off a 55-inch set, to be sold late in the year. The price hasn’t been disclosed, but is likely to be high. OLED sets can be painfully thin _ in LG’s case, less than a third of an inch _ and should boast improved image quality as well.
We’ll also see TVs that are “smart” in the sense that they respond to gestures or spoken commands. However, until cable set-top boxes get smart, too, we won’t be able to abandon remotes.
Paul Gagnon, an analyst at DisplaySearch, said TV manufacturers are trying to get ahead of Apple. He and other analysts believe the company is working on a TV set that could be introduced this year. Some speculate that “Siri,” the voice-control application in the latest iPhone, is a dry run for a voice-controlled TV.
Apple hasn’t commented on the speculation. It has agreements with Hollywood studios for sales and rentals of movies through iTunes, but to create a TV that’s unmistakably “Apple,” it would likely require broader agreements with content providers, such as rights to stream live TV. Even Apple might not be able to challenge the content industry’s way of business.
“They’ve been able to break down those digital barriers with music and other applications, but TV is going to be one of the tougher areas,” Gagnon said.
In other words, an Apple TV could be an expensive flop. Staying away from CES is no guarantee for success.
Peter Svensson can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/petersvensson
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