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DESIGNER LIVING Style is what matters in the kitchen, but only if it comes together with outstanding performance, in design combinations that can bring joy to consumers – and to the retailers who help them find it
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TV & SOUND PROJECTION Home entertainment is a sophisticated combination of sound, vision, control and connectivity, where quality is taken for granted and convenience comes as standard. It’s a challenging but rewarding area for retailers who can deliver the right combination of products and expertise
FROM THE BENCH Making the right connections between TV, sound and the growing number of electronic boxes in modern homes can be tricky when some gear is new and other pieces are “legacy” equipment. Alan Bennett talks through the options
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Is Blu-ray being ushered out by streaming and the lack of uptake for 4K Blu-ray? And the next time your PVR messes up on timing when recording programmes, it may not be your machine but the broadcaster that’s getting it wrong
SAVINGS ACROSS LOTS OF BRANDS
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MANUFACTURERS PROMOTE THEIR LATEST BRAND AND PRODUCT CAMPAIGNS… NEW MARKETING CAMPAIGN SUPPORTS TEFAL ACTIFRY LOW-OIL FRYER Tefal is promoting its ActiFry low-oil fryer in a digital media campaign running for 6 weeks from 1st April 2019. The activity includes both Facebook and YouTube and is underpinned by a comprehensive range of in-store point-of-sale material. It follows a similar marketing campaign run in November 2018 which, according to GfK data, generated 6% growth in market share for the product.
RANGEMASTER CHOOSES LONDON-BASED IRISH CHEF AS BRAND PROMOTER
HOOVER CHOOSES SIMON RIMMER AS BRAND PROMOTER
Rangemaster has chosen TV chef, awardwinning food writer and food stylist Jordan Bourke to front a diverse range of marketing activity for the brand, including PR, advertising and events. The Londonbased Irish chef will also play a pivotal role in showcasing Rangemaster appliances and launching new range cookers over the coming year.
TV chef & restaurateur Simon Rimmer will collaborate with Hoover to promote the brand’s cooking credentials and portfolio of built-in ovens, hobs, hoods and sous vide models. Rimmer will front a diverse range of marketing activity such as PR, advertising, competitions and events. A suite of social media assets including imagery and video content will be created for the campaign, which will be supported by activity across Hoover’s social and digital media and in-store activities.
‘HOOVER, THAT’S WHO’ CAMPAIGN BROUGHT TO IRISH AUDIENCE
LEISURE INTRODUCES THREE-YEAR GUARANTEE PROMOTION
Hoover has become the broadcast sponsor of the awardwinning daytime TV show ‘This Morning’ in the region of Ireland. The activity is part of the brand’s ‘Hoover, that’s who’ campaign and features the AXI washing machine, H-Free cordless stick vacuum cleaner and a built-in oven from the Vogue collection.
Leisure is offering customers of Euronics retailers a free-of-charge upgrade of their range cooker guarantee from one year to three (T&Cs apply). The promotion is intended to help drive sales of Leisure products and runs until 30th June. It is supported with online banners, in-store POS including A3 posters, tent cards and swing tags featuring Leisure’s hero model, the Cuisinemaster Pro.
TEFAL CONTINUES THE FIGHT AGAINST LIMESCALE… Tefal is running a multi-level digital media campaign to promote its Anti-Scale range of irons and steam generators, which incorporate patented technology that eliminates limescale. “Join the Fight against Limescale” follows a successful campaign in spring 2018 and includes both Facebook and YouTube activity. It is underpinned with a comprehensive range of specially designed in-store point-of-sale material.
INSIDE... 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word
In and around the industry
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Product Gallery Designer Living Fashions, fads and gimmicks come and go, but great design, the marriage of form and function, is always in style. Consumers are more demanding, and access to excellent design has never been more widespread, so the challenges and opportunities are there for retailers to fulfil aspirations
George Cole Gets Connected Has Blu-ray left its best days behind? And, if your PVR is having trouble recording the programmes you want, maybe it’s the broadcaster who is getting it wrong?
From the Bench When new meets old in home electronics, making a connection can be difficult. Alan Bennett looks at ways to bridge the generation gap
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GC looks at the advances in TV screen and sound technology that are moving us closer towards the ultimate goal of a perfect image married to perfect sound.
The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) has advised consumers that they should not run domestic appliances unless they are at home and awake
ur message is clear,” says Deputy Manufacturers are learning that their Chief Officer David McGown, safety responsibilities must override profit. SFRS Director of Prevention Saving a few pence per unit with a cheaper and Protection. “Use your white goods safely. thermostat switch, using less costly but more Don’t risk it. If you’re out or asleep, it’s just not flammable materials, poor design that allows on.” Similar warnings not to leave white goods dust and fluff to come into contact with heating running unattended have been issued by fire elements, or skimping on the insulation in “wet” services across the UK. appliances, are false economies less and less This is an eminently sensible default position common among reputable brands. It’s a pity for any professional fire safety adviser, and that some have had to learn at the expense of no-one, given the recent history of white goods their reputations – or, more seriously, of their and domestic fires, could say it’s wrong. customers’ lives and property. However, it does call into question But even if manufacturers get the very foundation on which it as right as possible all of the modern white goods the time, they can’t always “How is it industry is predicated. proof their products possible, short of What good are all the against an entire sales slogans about body of consumers arranging the family convenience, lifestyle which – because of into shifts, to ensure enhancement, freedom, the near-universal the fridge/freezer has the promise of tedious reach of white goods someone there, and chores being done while – comprises pretty awake, 24 hours you’re away enjoying life, much everyone. Some a day?” if you have always to be will be conscientious there, keeping an eye on and responsible, some the very appliances that are negligent, some forgetful, there to set you free? What good some lazy, some lacking in are the “delay start” buttons on so information and some downright many washing appliances – put there precisely stupid. It is a fair bet, though, that the majority, so that they can turn on while you’re not at primed to expect freedom from household home, or have gone to bed – if you have to be chores, will at some time go out, or go to sleep, at home, and awake? How is it possible, short while their white goods are working. It’s the job of arranging the family into shifts, to ensure the of manufacturers and retailers to explain – and fridge/freezer has someone there, and awake, keep on explaining – to all of these people that 24 hours a day? And where’s the benefit in nothing they use every day will go on working connected appliances if you can’t use the app to safely without a little bit of simple maintenance. operate them unless you’re at home? Manufacturers can change plastic for metal This may be absurd, but for all sorts of on the back of a fridge/freezer, but they can’t reasons it is not funny. And let there be no absolutely prevent consumers from allowing mistake: whatever else might be “blamed” for a decade of household dust and debris to this contradictory situation it is categorically build up behind it. Retailers might reinforce NOT the advice of fire safety professionals. They the advice in the tumble dryer manufacturer’s work with the evidence available to them, and user handbook, but they can’t visit every discharge their duty to help keep the public safe customer’s house every few months to make in the light of that evidence. The evidence is that sure they’ve cleaned the filters. white goods can, and do, catch fire, and lives Safety has to be a shared responsibility, and property are destroyed. but the onus always falls more heavily on The other elements here are the industry – the industry, if only because press reports of manufacturers and retailers, who make and sell tragedies and disasters seem to focus on the appliances – and consumers, who buy and use appliance rather than the way it’s been used. them. Both have a responsibility to ensure they There’s still a lot for all of us to do before enjoy fully and safely the profits and benefits of the safety advice can change. Before modern white goods. It was never going to be consumers can confidently leave the house, easy. Domestic dust & debris, heat, electricity, or get a good night’s sleep, while their moisture and long-term mechanical operation white goods do what they promised without make an inherently dangerous combination. supervision.
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An exclusive club from Britannia for new customers. Britannia Life is a first-class, complimentary service experience. Customers can benefit from the removal and disconnection of their existing cooker, delivery, installation and one-to-one product demonstration of their new purchase. Plus theyâ€™ll receive pre and post support from our UK-based customer service centre and in-house specially-trained engineers. To become a Britannia stockist or to find out more about this service please contact email@example.com or visit www.britannialiving.co.uk
Terms and conditions apply. Britannia Life applies to Range Cookers purchased after 1st March 2019 only.
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE NEGATIVE BUT STEADY THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
BREXIT UNCERTAINTY CONTINUES TO DAMPEN RETAIL SALES
retail sales declined in March, marking a disappointing end to the first quarter of 2019 for retailers, and for the country at large, as the promise of an orderly exit from the EU on the 29th of the month failed to materialise, while proceedings moved beyond chaos into a very un-British, shameful farce played out in the House of Commons. According to the British Retail Consortium, like-for-like sales fell 1.1% yearon-year while total sales dropped by 0.5%. Despite Mother’s Day falling during the month, BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said shoppers were generally cautious not to overspend, particularly on larger items. “Brexit continues to feed the uncertainty among consumers,” she added.
Sue Richardson, Retail Director UK for KPMG, noted that no further clarity around Brexit came to light during March, and “shoppers continued to waver,” she said. Some categories received a welcome reprieve due to more favourable weather; others, however – mainly big-ticket items including furniture – remained overlooked. Online sales performed better than the high street, but Richardson said the high proportion of sales occurring online nods towards the underlying issue of profit pressure. “Retailers will be hoping for an end to this sustained uncertainty – it’s clearly not good for business – but times have already well and truly changed, and agility remains the best form of defence,” she commented.
SIX-YEAR HIGH FOR SHOP PRICE INFLATION
hop Price inflation rose to its highest level in six years, driven by acceleration in food prices to 2.5% while non-food prices remained stable year on year. Overall inflation rose to 0.9% during the month, up from 0.7% in February – the highest rate since March 2013. According to the BRC and Nielsen, technological developments in the non-food categories of Electrical and Clothing meant that prices for these goods have been on a downward trend for several years. Price decreases in these sectors were, however, offset by increases in DIY, Health & Beauty, Books and Furniture prices.
onsumer confidence remained stable in March, with increases in the 12-month outlook for the general economy, personal finances and the savings index offsetting a four-point drop in the major purchase index – the measure reflecting consumers’ appetite for spending on big-ticket items. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index remained at -13, a result which in the prior month was described by the research analyst as “frankly amazing”.
UK’S APPETITE FOR MAJOR PURCHASES DROPS DRAMATICALLY
arly March saw the largest squeeze on financial wellbeing for 13 months and the fastest fall in UK households’ appetite for major purchases for 18 months, according to the monthly IHS Markit Household Finance Index for March. The Index fell from 43.4 in February to 43.3 in March, reflecting a sharper rise in living costs and the steepest drop in cash available to spend since April 2018. The appetite for major purchases declined at the fastest pace since September 2017, and the most recent fall is one of the sharpest over the last five years, the analyst said. On the positive side, households expressed less pessimism about the outlook for financial wellbeing over the next 12 months and are slightly more confident about job security. Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit, commented: “A sharp drop in UK households’ appetite for major purchases was the main signal that Brexit uncertainty had some impact on consumer spending. This index was close to a five-year low, which may reflect a wait-and-see approach to holiday bookings and other big-ticket spending commitments during the latest survey period.” The latest developments in the Brexit process have occurred since the survey was conducted, so how they will affect sentiment remains to be seen.
RECORD LOSS OF UK HIGH STREET STORES IN 2018 A ccording to PwC research carried out by the Local Data Company, the net loss of bricks & mortar stores from the UK’s top 500 high streets in 2018 was 2,481, the highest since PwC began tracking this data in 2011 and 40% higher than in 2017. The net decline shows that the rising number of closures (16 per day) is not being offset by falling numbers of new
openings (9 per day). Over the last five years store openings have fallen by more than 40%. Electrical retail was among the five worst affected, with a net loss of 110 stores (158 closures, 48 openings). Shoppers say that 23% of their Consumer Electronics purchases and 17% of their Household Electricals purchases were made online over the
last year. As the character of UK high streets begins to evolve, the growth areas in bricks & mortar retail are now outlets such as low-cost gyms, bookshops, ice cream parlours, cake shops & patisseries and vaping & tobacco shops. Lisa Hooker, Leader of Industry for Consumer Markets, PwC UK, commented: “High streets still have an
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important role to play. But given the continued trend of shopping online, retailers, landlords and policymakers need to think about the amount of space dedicated to retail. We believe that in future Britain will need less, but better invested, high street space that gives consumers variety, service, convenience, ease of access, entertainment, and, above all, a reason to visit.”
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
RETAILERS DEMAND REFORM OF BROKEN BUSINESS RATES SYSTEM AS TAX RISES AGAIN
etailers will shoulder the burden of an additional £200m in taxes as the Business Rates multiplier rose to 50.4p in the pound from 1st April 2019. Business Rates have risen 45%, from 38.4p to 50.4p in the pound, since the tax was introduced in 1990, so shops will now be paying over half of their rateable value again in Business Rates before they have even made a penny in sales, according to the British Retail Consortium. The current system is contributing to the rising number of store closures and discouraging new
AO TARGETS WHITE GOODS RENTAL MARKET
businesses from taking over empty shops. Retail saw a drop of 48,000 jobs between 2017 and 2018, even though the economy as a whole added 415,000 new jobs over the same period. The BRC said it wants to see an end to the Business Rates burden, and in a submission made to the Treasury Select Committee it has set out a framework to fix the broken business tax system under the principles of Relief, Review and Reform. Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retail is in the midst of a transformation as new technologies and changing consumer behaviour impact the
way we shop. The investment needed for this reinvention is being held back by a rising tide of public policy costs, with Business Rates the biggest among these.” Retail accounts for 5% of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business taxes and 25% of Business Rates. “This is simply not sustainable,” said Dickinson. "The raft of shop closures and job losses are testament to that.” The CE added that the Government “fiddles at the edges” while retail suffers and consumers pay the price.
DON’T RUN DOMESTIC APPLIANCES UNLESS YOU’RE AT HOME AND AWAKE, WARNS SFRS
he Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has introduced a white goods safety advertisement after new statistics revealed that its fire crews were called to 327 domestic appliance fires during 2018. nline electricals business AO has taken its The 30-second clip showing a washing machine fire advises consumers effectively not to leave white first step into the white goods rental market, goods unattended. partnering with two Housing Associations in “Our message is clear: use your white goods safely. Don’t risk it. If you’re out or asleep, it’s just not England and Scotland in a trial. on,” said Deputy Chief Officer David McGown, SFRS Director of Prevention and Protection. The retailer said its ambition is to reach thousands A breakdown of the appliances that caused the fires showed Washing Machines were responsible for of families over the next year if all goes well. 121, Tumble Dryers for 111, Fridge/Freezers 53, Dishwashers 33, Washer/Dryers 5 and Spin Dryers 4. Initially AO is offering an 8kg Candy washing SFRS’s McGown said: “People may not associate white goods such as washing machines and tumble machine for £2 per week with no hidden extra costs, dryers with fire but we responded to 327 white goods fires last year alone, that is why we are launching no up-front payment and no credit checks. This this campaign. includes delivery, full insurance, repairs and the “We know that the Scottish public has a high awareness of the traditional causes of recycling of any old appliances. fire in the home. Cooking, smoking and alcohol are all factors which have been After five years, customers can replace the deservedly highlighted. But the risk of fire from white goods is also one washing machine with a new one and send which we all face. the old one back to AO for refurbishment “These new figures show that house fires involving white goods or recycling, and they also have the “Cooking, happen every week.” option of cancelling at any time The SFRS is working closely with partners including Scottish and arranging for collection of the smoking and Government, Safer Communities, Trading Standards Scotland and appliance free of charge. alcohol are all factors Electrical Safety First with the aim of reducing the number and AO Founder and CEO John which have been the impact of white goods fires. Roberts said: “This is yet another Ash Denham, Scotland’s Minister for Community Safety, example of what we do best – deservedly highlighted. said: “We are determined to see a reduction in the number of disrupting the market in the AO But the risk of fire from house fires from white goods and this campaign has a vital role Way. It’s a straightforward £2 white goods is also in ensuring the public has a heightened awareness of potential per week payment with no updangers in the home.” front charges and no catches so one which we all that customers know exactly what face.” they are paying for their washing machine from the start. “It’s a totally different approach to the current rental offers out there and I believe that we’re doing better.” Roberts believes AO is uniquely placed to make electricals rental affordable because of its business model. “Our advantage is that we own most of the supply chain,” he commented. “This keeps our costs low, meaning we can save customers hundreds of pounds a year when it comes to renting electrical essentials. Of course, rental has appeal for a broad range of customers, not just those on lower incomes. It’s early days for us but I’m optimistic about the potential.” Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – https://youtu.be/o_wFnNPv4e8 If the service is successful, AO said it may expand into other products in future.
DIXONS CARPHONE FINED £29.1 MILLION FOR INSURANCE MIS-SELLING The Financial Conduct Authority has imposed a fine of £29.1 million on Dixons Carphone after concluding that the retailer’s Geek Squad mobile phone insurance selling processes did not meet expected standards.
he investigation, which stemmed from whistleblowing, involved the period from 1st December 2008 to 30th June 2015, in which Carphone Warehouse made regulated sales of Geek Squad policies worth over £444.7 million. The FCA said the retailer’s sales staff were trained in “spin selling”, where the focus was on persuading customers to purchase Geek Squad and on selling the features of the product.
“No training was provided on how to respond when customers gave answers indicating the policy may not be appropriate. Sales staff were trained in ’objection handling’, with the focus being on overcoming customer objections rather than assessing whether the product was suitable for the customer,” the FCA said. Customers who said they might have a similar product or wanted to think about it were advised to purchase Geek Squad and cancel in 14 days, creating the risk that some would purchase insurance they did not need and would be subjected to paying for it if they did not cancel in time. When customers complained about the sale of Geek Squad, Carphone Warehouse failed to properly investigate and fairly consider their complaints, resulting in valid complaints not being upheld in circumstances where the product had been mis-sold.
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Mark Steward, executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said: “The Carphone Warehouse and its staff persuaded customers to purchase the Geek Squad product which in some cases had little to no value because the customer already had insurance cover. The high level of cancellations should have been a clear indicator to the management of mis-selling. “Without whistleblowers coming forward these practices may never have come to light.”
Dixons Carphone said it worked closely with the FCA throughout the investigation and accepts that in the past the company’s practices fell short. Alex Baldock, Group Chief Executive, said: “We’re obviously disappointed that Carphone Warehouse fell short in the past. But we’re a very different business today; as the FCA acknowledges, we’ve made significant improvements since 2015. We’re committed to stay on that trajectory, and to make sure all customers enjoy the right technology products and services for them.”
AO STOCKPILES FOR BREXIT
nline retailer AO World has increased its fast-moving stock levels as part of Brexit contingency planning to help ensure it can continue to deliver in the event of a disruptive Brexit, the company disclosed in its latest trading update. Reporting on the twelve months to 31 March 2019, AO said full-year performance is expected to fall within the range of current market forecasts, with Group revenue increasing 13% to c.£900 million – up 9% excluding Mobile Phones Direct Limited, which the company acquired at the end of last year – but Group adjusted EBITDA, excluding exceptional costs, is expected to be at the lower end of market expectations, at £0.7m with a range of £-0.4m to £2.0m. UK revenue is predicted to be around £748m, up 9.8% year on year (5.4% excluding Mobile Phones Direct), while revenue in Europe is expected to grow 32.3% to c.€174m. The business said it increased its fast-moving core inventory levels by around £15m during the last quarter of FY19, with a corresponding impact on its cash position, as part of Brexit contingency planning. The company has also taken a £2.5m hit due to the restructuring of its management team following the re-appointment of John Roberts as CEO in January this year, together with charges for a loss-making contract which it was unable to terminate in Germany. These costs are in addition to previously disclosed one-off costs incurred in connection with the acquisition of Mobile Phones Direct and exceptional share-based payment charges. Further details will be disclosed in AO’s preliminary statement on 4 June 2019.
EXERTIS GAINS AEO ACCREDITATION
istributor of technology products Exertis has been awarded Authorised Economic Operator status for customs activities by HMRC, joining a group of around 700 UK businesses holding the accreditation. The standard will become more important when (or indeed, if) the UK leaves the EU as the government has confirmed that AEO will remain after Brexit. AEO is an internationally recognised quality mark which
shows that the role of organisations in the international supply chain is secure and customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU standards. Richard Hinds, chief operating officer, Exertis UK & Ireland, said: “As a ‘trusted trader’ we will have quicker access to numerous simplified customs procedures and authorisations and, in some cases, the right to fast-track our shipments through customs.”
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
MIDWICH REPORTS LIFT IN FULL-YEAR REVENUE AND PROFIT
Hughes Trade has appointed Nick Thorby to its specialist Business Rental team, responsible for the firm’s UK-wide customer base served from regional depots in areas such as Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.
distributor Midwich has reported pre-tax profit of £21.1 million for the year to 31st December 2018, up 11.5% on the previous year. Revenue increased by 21.6% to £573.7 million (21.4% on constant currency basis) including organic growth of 8.7%. Growth in technical products was up 54.7% assisted by three acquisitions during the year and now represents over 26% of Group turnover. Strong progress was also recorded in core Displays, which increased by 23.7% as a category across the Group. Managing Director Stephen Fenby said: “The Board is continuing to pursue its established strategy and is pleased with the progress made during 2018. Trading in the first two months of 2019 has built on the good growth we saw last year, giving the Board confidence in delivering a 2019 performance in line with its existing expectations.”
Caple has appointed Nicola Calver as business development manager for East Anglia and East London, responsible for retailers, builders’ merchants and electrical wholesalers.
Japanese technology company Sharp has extended its marketing team in Europe with the appointment of Kai Thielen to the new position of European Marketing Director, reporting directly to Sascha Lange, European Vice President Sales & Marketing. Beko has appointed Vijay Bhardwaj as marketing director, responsible for leading the marketing team for the Beko, Grundig, Leisure, Blomberg and Flavel brands.
Wholesaler Swift Electrical has appointed Steve Smith as Area Sales Manager for the North East of England, responsible building relationships with new and existing retail customers within the Kitchen and Independent Electrical divisions. Smeg UK has appointed Kris Horley as Head of Independent Retail, responsible for the development of the channel, which the company said is a key focus for 2019.
AMDEA CHIEF EXECUTIVE CALLS IT A DAY
he Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) has announced that Chief Executive Douglas Herbison is retiring after thirteen years with the organisation. Since joining in 2006 he has overseen expansion of AMDEA’s membership, broadened recognition of its technical expertise in developing product standards and led
campaigns on key issues imperative to the appliance industry. During his tenure, the organisation created its first consumer campaigns to drive awareness of energy- and water-savings provided by highefficiency white goods; the role of appliances in recovery of value from food waste; and most recently, with Register My Appliance, the
importance of product registration for household safety. “We appreciate the important contribution Douglas has made to AMDEA, and the white goods industry, in his career within the organisation and wish him well in his retirement,” said Teresa Arbuckle, AMDEA Chair. Herbison’s successor has not yet been named.
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EXCLUSIVE CLUB FOR NEW CUSTOMERS AS BRITANNIA UNDERGOES BRAND REFRESH
remium range cooker brand Britannia has undergone an extensive brand refresh with new logo and positioning, a revamped website, new POS and marketing materials and the launch of an “exclusive” club offering new customers buying a range cooker through participating retailers a broad range of benefits and a next-level service experience. Service benefits include enhanced delivery and installation, a personal inhome product demonstration and dedicated pre- and post-purchase support from the UK Customer Service Centre. Extra warranty and health-check options are available and all is supported by specially trained in-house engineers. Britannia Life club members will also receive a free range-cooker care pack after installation, discounts on Britannia cookware and bakeware and regular communication providing bespoke recipes, offers and exclusive lifestyle content from high-profile food and drink industry experts.
Mark Davison, Managing Director of Britannia’s parent company Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, said: “The brand refresh and launch of Britannia Life represents a significant investment in Britannia and one which we think will not only strengthen the brand in the eyes of the consumer but will provide huge support to our retailers. “Britannia Life will offer a range of delivery options that can include disconnection and removal of an old appliance, installation of the new one and then a personal demonstration to ensure the customer understands the features and functions in order to get the best out of the product from day one.” Davison added that the range of consumer benefits will help retailers in the sales process and the launch will be supported by trade and consumer marketing activity.
BEKO TAKES NO.1 SPOT IN UK LARGE HOME APPLIANCES
ata from independent provider of strategic market research Euromonitor has placed Beko as the number one large appliance brand in the UK. Euromonitor awarded the position to Beko, noting the brand’s sales performance throughout 2018. Head of Marketing at Beko Plc UK & Ireland Keval
Shah said: “We’re over the moon with this news that reflects a lot of hard work by the company as a whole and the consistent performance of Beko in the UK. We have been market leaders in both volume and value sales for three years now, and it is great to be able to state our number one position officially.
TCL TAKES SECOND PLACE IN GLOBAL TV MARKET AS RESULTS REACH RECORD HIGH
AMDEA URGES LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO GET INVOLVED IN REGISTER MY APPLIANCE CAMPAIGN
hinese CE manufacturer TCL Electronics rose from third to second place in the global TV market in 2018 and reported a record turnover of HK$46 billion (€5.1 billion) for the year, an 11.7% increase on 2017. Gross profit margin remained stable at 15.3%, while operating profit increased 13.1% year-onyear to HK$1.19 billion. Net profit after tax rose by 17.3% to HK$935 million. Annual sales volumes of LCD TVs increased by 23.1% year-on-year to a record 28.61 million. The business said it benefited from its globalisation strategy, with its international business becoming an important growth engine. The company’s turnover outside of China increased by 27.0% to HK$26.60 billion, while turnover in China amounted to HK$18.37 billion. Sales volumes in Europe increased by 43.1% year-on-year, with areas including France, Germany, Italy and Spain recording notable growth. According to GfK data, TCL ranked 3rd in France in terms of sales volumes during 2018. In North America the company posted a 41.8% year-on-year rise in sales volumes, while volumes in emerging markets increased 30.7%. Rapid growth markets included India, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Australia. According to Sigmaintell data, TCL rose from third to second place in the global TV market with a share of 11.6% in terms of shipments in 2018.
“2018 was a phenomenal year of trading for us, we’ve been working tirelessly to support all our channels with bespoke marketing strategies to drive sales, and it has really paid off. We are extremely grateful to all our customers for their efforts and loyalty over the last 29 years.”
he Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances is urging two million local government employees to lead the way on Register my Appliance, the trade body’s home safety campaign. AMDEA is inviting council employees to ensure that their own families and friends take a few minutes to register their white goods on www.registermyappliance.org.uk and asking them to urge local residents to follow suit. “This simple step,” says AMDEA, “ensures that manufacturers know where to contact them if a safety repair is ever needed – just a few clicks to make homes safer in seconds.” Safer in Seconds @registermyappliance.org.uk offers messages and materials for internal communications to spread the word within councils, and external promotion pieces providing information for social housing tenants and local residents using other council services.
CIH MAKES IMPROVEMENTS TO SAP SYSTEM
uying group CIH has implemented a number of changes to its SAP system to ensure the areas of purchasing, marketing and finance are seamlessly linked through one core platform. The upgraded system allows members and agents to submit marketing claims, obtain best price and promotional offers, check stock levels and retrieve data, and manage their accounts and credit limits. CIH said it will also be offering a full marketing suite, giving members and agents a “one stop shop” solution. “Together with our new ecommerce website we have strengthened our offering to compete in the forever challenging trading climate,” said Stuart Cook, CEO of the buying group.
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HOTPOINT POINT & PLACE APP PUTS APPLIANCES IN CONSUMERS’ HOMES
onsumers can now visualise Hotpoint appliances in their homes before making a purchase, via an augmented reality app providing the opportunity to evaluate the look, size and general suitability of the appliance using the camera on an iOS or Android device. Shoppers can find products using a choice of criteria and browse by room or category before pointing and placing the item in their home for an interactive AR shopping experience. Hotpoint Head of Brand Jennifer Taylor commented: “At Hotpoint, we care for what our customers value most and we hope this tool will help shoppers to make an informed purchase decision to match their homes and lifestyles perfectly.”
xclusively Electrical & Exclusively Housewares have partnered with ‘thefoodpeople’ to share the most relevant food & drink trends that will have an impact on the industry over the course of the next two years. Trend consultancy Scarlet Opus will also be in attendance to provide an insight into the trends that will influence the homewares sector. Both businesses will welcome visitors to displays in the trend hub above Exclusively Electrical, where talks, tours, and other activities will take place. The Exclusively shows will take place 11-12 June at the Business Design Centre, London.
SHORTCUTS Technology firm Midwich is sponsoring the Diss Cyclathon for the third consecutive year. The aim of the June event is to encourage more local people to cycle this summer and to raise funds for Midwich’s chosen charity Norwich & Central Norfolk Mind. Philips TVs have received five 2019 awards: Red Dot and IF Design Awards for the new OLED+934 and OLED 854 models and an IF Award for the new 9104 TV. Smeg has won Red Dot Design Awards for its Dolce Stil Novo SFPR9604NR oven, DCF01 Drip Filter Coffee Machine and 4-slice TSF03 toaster. Whirlpool has been awarded a 2019 iF Design Award for its freestanding 4-door fridge freezer (WQ9 B1L).
KENWOOD SUPPORTS CHILDREN’S CHARITY OVER THE WALL
taff at Kenwood are aiming to raise £10,000 for children’s charity Over The Wall, the company’s Charity of the Year for 2019. The initiative is being led by Kenwood’s ‘Giving Something Back’ team to help fund free residential camps for children with serious illness by participating in a collection of challenges and activities. Kenwood will also host a tea party to celebrate the charity’s 20th anniversary at the end of camp season, the proceeds of which will go towards the funding of camps. “We look forward to forming a prosperous, fun-filled partnership involving Over The Wall and our own employees to ensure as many children as possible can enjoy the benefits brought by this amazing charity,” said Alan Cummings, Giving Something Back team sponsor at Kenwood.
Blast from the past – got a spare couple of quid? As this issue of GC was going to press, electricals chain Comet (now Comet Group Limited), which was sold by KESA Electricals to private investment firm OpCapita for £1 (or was it £2!) at the backend of 2011, before going bust in 2012 with the loss of more than 6,000 jobs and a £50 million bill for unpaid taxes and redundancy costs to be footed by tax payers, appointed Metis Partners to support the marketing and sale of the intellectual property assets relating to the Company. Metis Partners has listed the IP assets for sale as follows: • Goodwill rights in the iconic Comet corporate brand and reputation • Goodwill rights in associated product and service brands • An extensive portfolio of trade marks • Attractive domain name portfolio and attractive e-commerce website content
Anyone got a spare couple of quid??
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ÂŠÂŠ Copyright Copyright of of Domestic DomesticAppliance Appliance Distributors Distributors Limited. Limited.All All rights rights reserved. reserved. All All details details inin this this booklet booklet are are correct correct at at the the time time of of going going to to print, print,D.A.D D.A.D reserve reserve the the right right to to amend amend prices prices and and products products without without prior prior notice. notice.All All images images are are for for illustration illustration purposes purposes only only and and may may occasionally occasionally differ differ from from the the actual actual product. product.E&OE. E&OE.
10 10 Place Place Settings Settings 55 Programmes Programmes 30min 30min Quick Quick Wash Wash A+ A+ Energy Energy Rating Rating White White
1200 1200 RPM RPM 8Kg 8Kg Load Load Capacity Capacity LED LED Indicator Indicator Lights Lights A+++ A+++ Energy Energy Rating Rating White White
Slimline Slimline Dishwasher Dishwasher
Washing Washing Machine Machine
Induction Induction Hob Hob
Integrated IntegratedOven Oven& &Ceramic CeramicHob HobPack Pack
44 Hob Hob Zones Zones Front Front Touch Touch Controls Controls Heat Heat Indicator Indicator A A Energy Energy Rating Rating Black Black
57Ltr 57Ltr Capacity Capacity Oven Oven 55 Oven Oven Functions Functions 44 Hob Hob Zones Zones A A Energy Energy Rating Rating Black Black
Washer Washer Dryer Dryer
Frost Frost Free Free Fridge Fridge Freezer Freezer
1400 1400 RPM RPM 8Kg 8Kg Wash Wash Load Load Capacity Capacity 6Kg 6Kg Drying Drying Load Load Capacity Capacity A A Energy Energy Rating Rating White White
220 220 // 124Ltr 124Ltr Capacity Capacity 33 Fridge Fridge Shelves Shelves 44 Freezer Freezer Compartments Compartments A++ A++ Energy Energy Rating Rating White White
Under Under Counter Counter Larder Larder Fridge Fridge
Under Under Counter Counter Fridge Fridge Freezer Freezer
92Ltr 92Ltr Capacity Capacity 22 Fridge Fridge Shelves Shelves A+ A+ Energy Energy Rating Rating White White H85 H85 W48 W48 D50cm D50cm
87Ltr 87Ltr Capacity Capacity 22 Fridge Fridge Shelves Shelves // 4* 4* Freezer Freezer Box Box A+ A+ Energy Energy Rating Rating White White H88 H88 W48 W48 D50cm D50cm
Domestic Appliance Distributors
©© Copyright Copyright of of Domestic DomesticAppliance Appliance Distributors Distributors Limited. Limited.All All rights rights reserved. reserved. All All details details inin this this booklet booklet are are correct correct at at the the time time of of going going to to print, print,D.A.D D.A.D reserve reserve the the right right to to amend amend prices prices and and products products without without prior prior notice. notice.All All images images are are for for illustration illustration purposes purposes only only and and may may occasionally occasionally differ differ from from the the actual actual product. product.E&OE. E&OE.
PIEGA’s first wireless loudspeakers Swiss loudspeaker specialist PIEGA is making it possible to connect its new active Premium Wireless loudspeakers to any audiophile source or multi-room system with its new ‘PIEGA connect’ hub interface, which offers analogue and digital inputs and integrated Bluetooth aptX for direct streaming from smart devices. The three speaker models are available April 2019.
B&O launches limited-edition Beoplay H9i headphones Bang & Olufsen and premium luggage brand RIMOWA have collaborated in the creation of a pair of limited-edition Beoplay H9i headphones constructed from long-lasting materials such as anodised aluminium and genuine leather. The headphones feature active noise cancellation and a touch interface and are housed in a signature RIMOWA aluminium case.
Elipson brings BELL Series loudspeakers to UK Elipson’s new BELL Series of multi-purpose loudspeakers, designed for high ceiling domestic and commercial environments, is available in two sizes. The BELL 4 uses a 12mm mylar dome tweeter with 110mm polypropylene mid/bass unit, whilst the larger, more powerful BELL 6 is for large ceiling spaces and features a 25mm tweeter with 200mm mid/bass driver. A bespoke fixing system is also supplied, with cable and hooks for secure ceiling suspension.
Indesit brings Push&Go to built-in laundry appliances Indesit’s built-in washing machine with Push&Go – a button that automatically starts a predetermined wash cycle – is A++ rated for energy and incorporates technology which ensures the appliance uses the right amount of water for each wash load. Model ref: BI WMIL 71452 UK offers 14 programmes including Anti odour, Delicates, Duvet, Eco, Rapid 30, Sport and Wool, and has a Start Delay function so users can take advantage of cheaper energy tariffs, where available.
Guns N’ Roses turntable latest addition to Pro-Ject’s Artist Series Austrian manufacturer Pro-Ject Audio Systems has released a special edition turntable design in partnership with Guns N’ Roses. The unit is based on the Pro-Ject Essential III A turntable and incorporates high-quality audiophile components throughout – including the Ortofon OM 10 elliptical cartridge, the stable belt drive system topped with a precision diamond-cut aluminium pulley, and the 8.6" aluminium tonearm.
01235 511 166 | www.henleyaudio.co.uk
Beko introduces connected autodose dishwasher Beko has launched a connected dishwasher with an autodose function which dispenses the correct dose of liquid or gel detergent and can be operated and monitored from any Alexa-enabled device through the HomeWhiz Alexa skill. Detergent is replenished automatically through the HomeWhiz app with either Amazon’s Dash Replenishment System (DRS) or Finish 365.
Airuno presents new Wall Hood Designer cooker hoods brand Airuno has expanded its range of products with the launch of a new wall hood providing extra storage space for the kitchen. The Leonardo is an angled 90cm black glass extractor with a maximum extraction rate of 760 m3/h, an operating level of 48-68dB(A), four speed settings and touch controls. The unit opens up to reveal illuminated interior storage space.
ESSE expands Vector colour options ESSE’s Vector heater is now available in Graphite, Rose and Silverstone finishes. The appliance requires no installation or maintenance and can be used in any room with a 13amp socket. A single top-mounted on/off dial also varies the temperature, and the unit continues to heat the room for up to 30 minutes after being powered down.
Styling it out
Hotpoint Class 9: “An integrated system of advanced technology and innovations”
Whatever else UK consumers care about in their domestic appliances – be it high performance, energy efficiency, simplicity, versatility, connectedness, durability, price – good design is a perennially high priority. Good looks are a big part of that, of course, but good design is always more than skin deep, and 21st century designer living is about form and function in harmony
esigner” products have taken on a broader meaning in the 21st century, and all electrical appliances have become, in a sense, designer goods. Brands from entry level to premium are acknowledging that the appliances bearing their logos must achieve a level of aesthetics and function that lives up to 21st century consumer aspirations. The response from manufacturers means that none of your customers, however tight their budgets, has to be excluded from bringing “designer living” into their homes. Design democracy is an opportunity for retailers – especially those with bricks-and-mortar outlets - to make the most of what your customers care most about.
MODERN CONTEXT White goods have developed from the unobtrusive drudges that do the chores, into an important way for householders to express their individual taste. The growth in open plan living has further shifted the emphasis away from “hiding” appliances, and towards showing
them off as part of an overall design for living. As Whirlpool marketing director Marco Falaschetti puts it, the kitchen has become “a place for socialising and entertaining. Appliance design is now even more important, especially as kitchens are now opening up into the living area more. Constantly on show to visitors, it is important to many home owners that their appliances are stylish in design.” And because good design, along with outstanding performance, are now widely perceived as basic requirements, consumer expectations are high. It’s a demanding environment for retailers, but one in which they – and their suppliers – understand what’s needed to fulfil customers’ aspirations. “The kitchen is the heart of the home,” says Bertazzoni UK & Ireland MD Maurizio Severgnini, “and as such tends to reflect people’s individual style.” Smeg UK product manager Lucy King asserts that “the increase in open-plan living means individuals are now seeking design led products that complement the overall look and feel of their home.”
“Good design means different things to different people”
Gorenje UK MD Iztok Krulc reinforces this: “The kitchen,” he says, “is increasingly an area where homeowners are choosing to express themselves through design choices.” He also acknowledges that “interior design influencers on social media pages such as Instagram have helped encourage this trend,” but, refreshingly, also reminds us of a potent effect of design that can get lost in the hype around technology: “It must be aesthetically pleasing, and bring an element of joy to the home and the user.”
SPREADING THE JOY Individual style is a product of personal taste, and what sparks that “joy” we all feel when we see and experience what we recognise as great design is widely variable. As Alex Hinton, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances’ Head of Category puts in a nutshell: “Good design means different things to different people.” Some customers are well grounded and confident in their own taste. Others, who are also seeking “joy”, may need guidance and help from magazines, TV programmes, social media and, of course, from a supportive retailer who can show, explain and ideally demonstrate in a welldesigned store environment, what’s available and how it might look and operate at home. Our domestic appliance industry is in a strong position to help consumers find their “joy”, either by showing them what they have already
visualised, or by presenting them with the look that they didn’t know they wanted until they saw it. Ours is an industry particularly rich in ideas, and in the variety of products capable of presenting them.
TIMELESS OR TRENDY? Ask manufacturers what’s trending in kitchen appliance aesthetics and technology at the moment, and the richness of choice becomes apparent. From farmhouse kitchen to minimalist chic, they have it covered. Cooker hoods specialist Airuno’s chairman, Geoff Baker, talks of “the ongoing popularity of minimalist and open plan kitchen design,” which generates demand for “discreet products which blend into the kitchen and don’t detract from its overall design.” Bertazzoni’s Maurizio Severgnini notes that “recently two trends have been very prominent in the kitchen appliances arena: metallics and bold colours.” Luke Shipway, product manager at Caple, says “cooking and cooling walls are proving popular in the modern kitchen…. From a bank of black glass or stainless steel ovens to a stainless steel wine cabinet and refrigeration, kitchen tech is all about creating dedicated zones in the kitchen with high performance functionality and finesse.” For Gorenje’s Iztok Krulc, there’s a very broad palette of design options on offer. “Last year,” he says, “we saw a growth in demand for statement ‘colour pop’ appliances, but recently the colour palette has toned down from the bright bubblegum colours seen in recent years, with more neutral, cooler shades taking the spotlight.” He also notes “the ‘retro’ style design trend is still going strong, bringing a retro vibe to customers’ kitchens.” However, “the scandi-noir theme has made its way into kitchens too, with luxe-black appliances trending.” He also emphasises what nearly all manufacturers told GC: built-in is a long-term and sustained trend for consumers looking to achieve the design they want, with the added benefit of space-saving. Nick Platt, business director, Built-in Division, Hoover Candy UK says “sleek and minimalist designs are very popular at the moment, with people choosing dark, block colours and highshine appliances to bring a classy, but subtle feel to the kitchen space.” Smeg: presenting smooth banks of appliances and metallic accents in a minimalist environment
Stylish, Modern and Intelligent Appliances from De Dietrich De Dietrich is a brand that embodies the commitment in designing kitchen appliances that not only look stylish and modern, but are also highly intelligent and functional. From grilling to roasting to baking, De Dietrich allows you to expand your culinary repertoire. With features such as the ‘Intelligent Cooking System’ that automatically determines the ideal cooking mode, temperature and duration, to “Twist Click Cook” technology which enables anyone to emulate the precision and control of a professional chef in 3 simple steps. De Dietrich combines performance, innovations and elegance to guarantee perfection in all its kitchen appliances.
WHATEVER YOU WANT “Research has found that 35% of consumers who have purchased built-in appliances have done so because they believe they are more stylish,” while 22% of those who bought built-in “have done so to save space in the kitchen,” says Hotpoint’s Jennifer Taylor. Statistics borne out by Sara Bazeley, brand manager at Indesit, who says: “According to Euromonitor International, built-in formats remain a key trend in major appliances, driven by consumers’ increasing focus on kitchen design…” The message is that built-in is definitely a thing, and smooth banks of shiny things in the kitchen are appealing. But at the same time, colour brings “statement” appliances and retro standalones into the design mix. Smeg’s Lucy King believes “colour trends continue to drive consumer and retailers’ decisions… Traditionally reds, creams and blacks have always been popular, but consumers are increasingly seeking sugary pastel shades including pink, green, blue and white.” Colour accents may be achieved either with a big piece such as a retro fridge or range cooker, but also with the strategic “pop” of colour from small appliances.
match the looks. Induction, sous vide, steam, frost free, zoned cooling, intelligent programming, monitored dosing, intelligent and connected appliances…. These are all technologies with benefits that are not only useful but very attractive in a designer living sense. Manufacturers also emphasise something that is already second nature to good electrical retailers across the country: know your products, be fully confident with the technology and why it’s useful, and try to display goods to the best advantage you can in the space available. If you’re still trading in the UK, you probably don’t need many lessons from anyone on how to run your retail business.
IT’S LOVELY, BUT DOES IT WORK? All the manufacturers who spoke to GC were united in the belief that, while aesthetics is the initial attraction, high function is an equal and long-lasting element in the good design mix. And the strength-in-depth is there to give retailers confidence that the technology can more than
All-new ENA 8 coffee machine from JURA UK Pioneering Swiss manufacturer JURA, the only brand in the world to focus solely on premium bean-to-cup coffee machines, has once again proven its expertise in achieving the perfect coffee with the launch of its all-new ENA 8. Not only is it the brand’s first compact machine to feature a VC brewing unit, which ensures careful and controlled flow of coffee, but it also presents JURA’s first round water tank, elegantly embossed and taking inspiration from luxury crystal glass decanters. This new machine offers a choice of 10 specialities and it can also be operated wirelessly via the JURA Coffee App.
01282 868266 uk.jura.com
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
A GLOOMY FUTURE FOR BLU-RAY? For some time now I have been documenting the decline of physical formats, whether they are CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs. In the first two months of this year there was more gloomy news for consumers who prefer playing discs to streaming media.
irst, Samsung has announced that it is no longer marketing both standard and 4K Blu-ray players in the US, and will not ship new 4K players in any territory. The company says that the rise of streaming has played a big part in its decision. Another reason is that sales of 4K Blu-ray titles have been disappointing – in February 2019, the format breakdown for the topselling 50 discs in the US was: DVD 55%; standard Blu-ray 40% and 4K Blu-ray 5%. Although 4K hardware prices have fallen – the premium you pay for a 4K player can be as low as £30 – disc prices remain high; in some cases almost double the cost of a standard Blu-ray title. Little wonder that 4K titles haven’t been flying off the shop shelves, or that some studios have decided not to release their latest films on 4K Blu-ray.
A MATTER OF TIMING L
ast time, I reported on how the hard drive on my Freeview PVR had died and so I bought a new box. I’d like to report that everything was now hunky dory, but I can’t. In the past few weeks, recording programmes has been like playing a game of chance – you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes, a programme won’t record, even when it’s part of a series link; others times, a programme starts five minutes late or is clipped – the recording stops and you lose the last five minutes. The worst offender is BBC One. I know that I’m not alone, because user forums are full of similar complaints. The question is: what’s going on and how can the issue be resolved? The answer is not so easy. The PVR seems fine and the fact that my second PVR in the back room has exactly the same issue, suggests that it’s not a hardware problem. When I contacted the PVR manufacturer, they were at a loss to help. The chances are that the problem lies with the BBC, which broadcasts so-called Accurate Recording (AR) codes, which tell the PVR when to start and stop recording. I’ve contacted both the BBC and Freeview and will let you know if I hear anything. Bear this in mind if any customer returns their PVR complaining that it doesn’t work properly.
“I’ve neve any figures r seen many peop of how Ultraviolet, le used b it’s not a lo ut I suspect t, otherwis e we would h ave heard about it.”
And the Blu-ray format hasn’t been helped by the fact that there are now three versions of Blu-ray – standard, 4K and 4K HDR 10+. The last format uses dynamic metadata, which can be used to adjust picture brightness on a frame-by-frame basis, unlike plain vanilla HDR 10, which uses static metadata, meaning the picture brightness is fixed at a certain value. Manufacturers have been offering firmware updates to make their 4K players compatible with HDR10+, but not all titles use the format. It’s a confusing picture for consumers. Throw in the fact that the number of high street music and video retailers is dwindling – my local HMV is now closed, meaning that CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray sales in my area are now restricted to supermarkets or online. Then there is the news that the Ultraviolet service is ending this July, although consumers might be able to continue using the service with selected retailers. Ultraviolet was introduced by the video industry eight years ago as a means of reducing piracy and bridging the gap between physical media and the digital world. Many DVD and Blu-ray titles came with an Ultraviolet redemption code that allowed users to access a digital file of the film title stored in the cloud. Users could watch the digital version on authorised devices. I’ve never seen any figures of how many people used Ultraviolet, but I suspect it’s not a lot, otherwise we would have heard about it. Other manufacturers have pledged their continued support for Blu-ray, but don’t be surprised if, before the end of 2019, at least one other brand follows Samsung’s lead.
FROM THE BENCH
FROM THE BENCH
HOOKUP HURDLES Not all installations go smoothly, says Alan Bennett. Hooking a TV set to other boxes within the home is now largely a simple matter involving one or more HDMI cords. Where older peripheral gear or special user requirements demand, however, it can become more complex, as described here. THE TV
Mr D bought from us a new LG 43-inch TV and The next challenge came with the audio hookup. arranged delivery. He was pleased to see that The old TV had phono sound-out sockets, linked the picture was three inches bigger than that to the audio-in ports of Mr D’s ancient JVC audio of the 11-year-old Sony it replaced, but had a stacker, circa 1990. The new LG TV had none smaller cabinet because of its narrower bezel. such, so the problem had to be solved with a little He was dismayed, though, to find one or two optical (TOSLINK)-to-phono converter. We fitted snags which would cost him money! The TV one with a USB power plug hooked to the TV was to live on a smallish stand for which its – this saves the need for another mains power supplied feet were too far apart for safety plug. One with a headphone socket was chosen and stability. We fitted a good quality to enable Mrs D to continue her use pivot and tilt pedestal (Invision of headphones at will, though RS400, very good, stable and they need to incorporate a smart-looking) to solve that volume control. The LG has one. It fixes to the TV’s no headphone socket. VESA mount. While this TV provides “The old TV hadt u Also new here was reasonably good phono sound-o the to d a BT set-top box and sound from its own ke lin , ts e ck so r M wireless hub, the latter speakers, that from the f o s rt audio-in po installed in another room audio stacker, with its io d au C D’s ancient JV 90.” of the house. This TV big loudspeakers, was box (using a hybrid tuner much better. Better, too, stacker, circa 19 working on Freeview and than the sound from a cable) is excellent, but has separate sound bar with the drawback of not being small speakers; the price of equipped for wireless operation: a decent one can easily exceed it requires an ethernet connection that of the TV itself. to the hub and comes with a generous 10m ECONOMICS cable for the purpose. The time, trouble and It is interesting to compare the costs of TV cost of routing that through a wall and ceiling reception and other services from Mr D’s point (newly decorated as it happened) – or of running of view. Previously he had used Sky for TV it outside the house – would have been too and internet services, and BT for his phone much, so we supplied and installed a Powerline connection. He went over to BT for all three adapter. Having done some inter-room wiring with a new fibre-to-the-cabinet link, and is now jobs I cannot understand (unless the tuner box actually paying less per month, with these and hub are in the same room) anyone using improvements: HD TV; BT Sport; TV catch-up and a cable connection where there are no speed, recording facilities with pause and replay; access interference or security issues present: the cost to (chargeable) Netflix and Amazon movies up and disruption of cabling far outweigh the price to UHD; a tenfold increase in his broadband of the wireless adapter.
speed; McAfee virus protection; and unlimited anytime phone calls. This shows how much can be saved by shopping around amongst service providers, but the price will go up after 18 months when BT’s special offer ends. At that time the TV can provide, if necessary, no-cost reception of Freeview and Freesat transmissions. Neither BT nor Sky rate very brilliantly in terms of customer service, but at least now there is only one company to deal with, and no playing-off between rival companies when problems arise!
SPIN-OFFS Apart from our mutually-rewarding involvement in supplying and installing the gear described above, there were other spin-offs arising in this household. Under the TV lived a quite old Toshiba DVD player whose disc drawer would not fully eject unless given a tug at the right moment. This was due to a slipping drive belt which was easy to replace, though proper working was not restored until we had lubricated the drawer’s slide bars. While we were doing that we noticed and replaced a bulging electrolytic capacitor on its power supply board (1000 F 10 V), though it was not yet having any effect on the player’s operation. The cost of this job came out at about the price of a new player, but these customers were happy with that – they liked the old one. Nor was that the end of it. The JVC stacker had a few problems with slipping belts, dodgy remote control and a need for cleaning and lubrication, so it will be coming into our workshop for loving attention. We supplied and installed a wall-mount for the old Sony TV, now demoted to the dining room, rescanned it for Freeview reception there, and serviced its remote control. We disposed of the old 26-inch glass TV it had supplanted. Who but an independent sales and service dealer could bring together and set up all these products and services, and thus probably acquire a happy customer for life?
TV & SOUND PROJECTION
Monitor Audio’s high-performance MASS compact 5.1 home cinema system comprises five satellite speakers and a subwoofer
challenge.” But adds that “in TVs this has been made more achievable with OLED technology. The picture and sound quality is second to none, in a form factor that gives home TV viewers infinite possibilities in designing their perfect viewing space. When bringing out new designs, we always ensure that we do not compromise on the picture and sound. Another example is the LG Signature OLED TV– a rollable TV with the full suite of technical features found in the rest of the 2019 TV range.” Orbitsound’s Fletcher says: “Airsound is our core technology which delivers a full and compelling stereo image – exactly as the recording artist intended – wherever the listener is in the room. This means that you not only hear the music perfectly, regardless of positioning, but there is no need for a second speaker in order to enjoy authentic and accurate stereo sound.”
BAR TALK Sound bar technology continues to evolve, as Samsung’s Brown notes. “Our sound bars offer a range of functions, including playing TV audio and streaming music, and can be controlled wirelessly alongside all your connected Samsung products through the SmartThings app. When connecting a Samsung “The difference sound bar to a Samsung between TV audio TV it automatically and a sound bar is detects the system so noticeable that a reproduces the sound and allows for a simple simple demonstration position on the screen. one-click set up. easily highlights the For example, when These sound bars offer performance gap” actors are speaking, the connectivity options for all sound appears to come customers whether that’s directly from their mouths HDMI-ARC, Bluetooth audio, and not from a speaker at the or voice activated commands bottom of the TV. Sony has also using Works with Alexa.” expanded its Acoustic Surface Audio Samsung’s N950 sound bar features technology, with Acoustic Multi-Audio. The ZG9 13 individual drivers, 7 amplifiers and HDMI, utilises front-facing speakers - two on the bottom Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The sound bar is designed and two on the top – to deliver a faithful sound to offer true 7.1.4-channel object-based audio position. The ZG9 has a TV centre speaker playback. Brown adds that “for 2019, we have mode for users with a home cinema setup, so brought true object-based audio performance that the TV becomes the centre speaker. to a slimmer form factor with the Q70 sound “Our Audio Lab team have engineered a range of innovative technologies used across our product range,” adds Stuart Brown, AV product manager, Samsung Electronics. “An example of this is our wide-range tweeter which crosses over at a much lower frequency than a conventional tweeter. This removes the crossover between drivers from that critical vocal frequency, providing a wider output and ultimately creating a larger sweet spot for the best sound experience possible throughout the room.”
In 2018 this feature looked at the way in which the development of thinner, bezel-less TV screens is working against the integration of speakers capable of full, rich sound, and examined how manufacturers were addressing the “thin TV = thin sound” conundrum. George Cole investigates what progress has been made, both in TV and other audio devices in the home
oday’s ultra-thin sets looks great on a stand or hanging from a wall, but Daniel Fletcher, managing director, Orbitsound, says this development comes at a price: “In order to get good sound quality, you need a box for the speakers to be housed in. The bigger the box, the more air volume you’ve got, the better you can make it sound. With TVs getting thinner and thinner, there’s simply no room for air volume inside of a TV. Once you lose the air volume, you might as well reduce the size and quality of the physical loudspeakers – further compromising sound quality.” He also notes an additional issue: “TV manufacturers often don’t want to increase the size of their bezels to include a front-firing loudspeaker, so they often place them on the sides or back of the TV, which compromises sound quality even further.” But TV manufacturers are using a range of products and technologies to boost TV and sound projection.
SOUND IDEAS Mike Somerset, Sony UK and Ireland TV marketing manager, says: “We want our consumers to have the best possible experience, by manufacturing TVs that provide excellent sound and picture quality.” Sony’s new Master Series ZG9 LED and AG9 OLED sets both feature Sound-from-Picture Reality, which
DESIGNING FOR PERFORMANCE James Thomas, LG’s product manager – home entertainment, admits “the balance between design and technical performance is always a
Sony: the Vertical Surround Engine delivering an immersive audio experience
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bar using our Acoustic Beam technology. Rather than requiring a large array of drivers, Acoustic Beam uses two beam-forming tubes that are rather like flutes, creating panoramic beams of upfiring sound. This means the Q70 fully supports Dolby Atmos and dts:X objectbased audio from a sound bar less than half the physical volume of the N950.” LG has worked closely with Meridian, using the company’s technology to improve sound quality across its product portfolio. Meridian’s Bass & Space technology improves the soundstage with coherent image and strong bass, while Image Elevation technology lifts the soundstage in a more realistic way to “Voice control boost listeners’ sense will no doubt of immersion.
become essential to any new speaker in time”
“The biggest evolution has been the concentration on making everything ‘smart’,” says Orbitsound’s Fletcher. “Everyone now expects new tech to be ‘connected’, so every product has to have Wi-Fi and an app. It also has to be compatible with multiple streaming services.” He also notes the use of voice control – usually via integration with either Amazon Alexa or Google Home. “This is a very under-utilised feature at the moment, but will no doubt become essential to any new speaker in time, thanks to the enormous efforts that both Amazon and Google are putting in to promote this.” LG’s SL10YG, SL9YG and SL8YG sound bars offer AI smart connectivity and voice recognition with the Google Assistant built-in. Users can control their LG sound bar and get information by simply saying “Hey Google, increase the volume,” or “Hey Google, play my chill-out playlist.” Compatibility with Google Assistantenabled smart products makes it possible to control connected devices throughout the home via voice command. Simply say, “Hey Google, ask LG to turn on the air purifier,” to the sound bar to make adjustments. Alex Stocker, Sony’s UK and Ireland HAV (Home AV) product manager, notes: “Our new HT-X8500 sound bar offers 2.1-channel Dolby Atmos, and delivers object-based cinema sound. Without the need for extra speakers, up to 7.1.2-channel surround sound can be experienced with our Digital Signal Processing technology, the Vertical Surround Engine.” The X8500 also includes Bluetooth, while the HT-S350 sound bar includes a wireless subwoofer, 320W power output, Bluetooth and connectivity via HDMI ARC.
LG OLED: Paper-thin screen with big sound from the box
simply demo on the shop floor, which is too big a space and has too much background noise to truly demonstrate the sound quality. Good demonstration material is essential.” Samsung’s Brown agrees that “sound quality is always best demonstrated in an environment similar to your home. Retailers that have in-store demonstration rooms can highlight the performance of cinematic sound bars with object-based audio. For retailers that don’t have this space, we have worked to create bespoke demonstration displays that highlight the object-based audio capabilities. In all cases the difference between TV audio and a sound bar is so noticeable that a simple demonstration easily highlights the performance gap to the consumer.” Samsung has also developed button panel displays to show the difference between objectbased audio and regular stereo or surround. “We are now working to combine these sound experiences, taking consumers on a sound journey allowing them to fully discern the difference between TV audio and the full objectbased cinematic experience,” adds Brown. LG’s Thomas says: “Retailers should dedicate tailored space for sound demos – matching the set-up of a living room can work well as
SHOWING OFF “Retailers can best demonstrate sound quality by having a dedicated listening room that is set up to be as much like the home environment as possible,” Orbitsound’s Fletcher asserts. “Unfortunately, most retailers
Orbitsound’s core Airsound technology “delivers a full and compelling stereo image”
you can walk the customer through the sound experience they’d have at home. Tactics like keeping the store music switched off in the area and having the space cordoned off away from the loudest areas of the store should also be considered so that during the demo the focus is on the sound quality of the product.” “Retailers,” adds Sony’s Somerset, “can maximise opportunities by communicating and demoing key TV technologies effectively, so consumers can see the benefits for themselves, and understand how our TVs produce excellent sound and picture quality. It is essential to have well trained staff who can communicate messages effectively. Demonstration is key because it gives consumers a chance to see how products sound and feel.” Sony offers retailers in-store POS displays to describe product benefits and explain how the product enhances the listening experience. “Promotional activity is also important as it brings consumers into our stores to try our products, which, in turn, drives sales,” concludes Somerset.
EAR TO THE GROUND What will be the next big trend in TV and sound projection? “For Samsung, the next trend in sound bar audio technology is a move towards a more cinematic experience, particularly in the home,” says Brown, “Consumers are purchasing larger screens, with 75-inch screens showing the largest growth in the TV market. These large screens deserve a befitting audio experience, which we believe can be provided through a cinematic sound bar with object-based audio, rather than a complicated hi-fi system.” Interestingly, Orbitsound’s Fletcher thinks TV sound might come full circle. “It could be the re-introduction of housings that are large enough to produce good quality sound. We’ve already seen LG release the Wallpaper TV and they have also recently shown a TV that rolls up out of a box. Both of these have enclosures that are large enough to produce great sound quality, so we could see a significant improvement in built-in TV sound in the near future.”
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Inside… 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 14 Product Gallery 16 Designer Living Fashions, fads and gimmicks come a...
Published on Apr 16, 2019
Inside… 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 14 Product Gallery 16 Designer Living Fashions, fads and gimmicks come a...