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SEPTEMBER 2012

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SEPTEMBER 2012

w w w. g c m a g a z i n e . c o . u k

DISHWASHERS The hygiene, energy, resources and convenience benefits of a dishwasher make it a “no brainer” choice as an essential appliance, but the UK has still not quite got it. GC asks what needs to be done to convince the British public, and who’s providing it?

THE GREEN ROOM GC looks at the recently published “Powering the Nation” study from Defra, and its relevance to electrical appliances and devices available for the homes of Britain

GARMENT CARE’S “SECRET WEAPON” LG explains the importance of advances in garment care technology

BRANDS OF DISTINCTION One hundred years old this year, the iconic Belling brand examines a century of development and emphasises the link between heritage and present-day relevance

THE KNOWLEDGE The launch of YouView is a significant landmark in the progress of subscription-free digital and catchup services. Leading maker Humax explains “everything you need to know” about the new service


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CONTENTS

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Editorial Comment

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The Word

In and around the industry

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Garment Care’s Secret Weapon LG’s 6 Motion Direct Drive Technology

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The Product Gallery Brands of Distinction

Distinguished brand Belling celebrates a century of innovation

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Dishwashers

Are more British consumers beginning to see the light?

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The Green Room

How the UK electrical industry is coming to terms with energy conservation in a power-hungry world

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The Knowledge

Humax explains the facts and implications behind the launch of YouView in the UK

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George Cole Gets Connected For the good of CE innovation, the “patent wars” have to cease

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www.gcmagazine.co.uk

From the Bench

Alan Bennett gives the lowdown on soundbars

Copyright © 2012 Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Get Connected is published by Mud Hut Publishing Ltd., Alresford House, 60 West Street, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7EH.

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Backchat

2-minute interview with Off The Wall UK Ltd director Oliver Mitchell

Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33  marlinda@gcmagazine.co.uk

Editorial & Publishing Director: Terry Heath Telephone: 01420 886 33 » terry@gcmagazine.co.uk

Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset www.blackmore.co.uk

Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741  brian@gcmagazine.co.uk

Creative Director: Will Dobson  design@willdobson.co.uk

Subscriptions & Circulation: GCCD Telephone: 01420 886 33  circulation@gcmagazine.co.uk

Sharon Maslen Telephone: 01892 677 742  sharon@gcmagazine.co.uk

Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456  gcads@willdobson.co.uk

Annual subscription rate (inc. postage): UK £88; Overseas £108.

SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

3


EDITORIAL COMMENT

Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

As 2012 moves into its vital fourth quarter, it’s already safe to say it’s lived up to its promise to be “one of the most remarkable years of the century.” Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

E

nough has been said about the national and international success of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and the somewhat unexpected panache and apparently effortless elegance with which we staged the greatest Olympic and Paralympic Games in living memory. Our athletes won a good few medals, too. So the nation, quite rightly, is feeling proud of itself and its ability to perform not just adequately, but outstandingly, on the international stage. But what we now need to do is talk more – and do more – on the subject of how we convert this national mood of confidence and enthusiasm into a lasting “legacy” (sorry!) of economic progress and success. Confidence is only useful if it’s used to drive bold and successful enterprise into the future, and that goes for commercial as well as sporting endeavour. When the athletes depart and the euphoria fades, we’re still faced with the harsher pre-Olympic facts of 2012: double-dip recession; retail buckling under the unprecedented strains of prolonged austerity; a broken banking system that is sapping the life out of SME enterprise and continuing to parasitise genuine entrepreneurial effort… We’ve learned the lesson, again – looking at the disappointing retail figures - that, apart from a welcome little upturn for TVs in July, retail cannot rely entirely on the big events for its profits. Year after year the World Cup, the Euros, the Olympics and other big events are cited as the beacons of hope – especially for consumer electronics. And they never quite deliver on the promise, or create a platform for sustained progress. With the Christmas quarter upon us, everyone is again hoping for the seasonal “miracle” that will deliver the profit in a poor retail year. What we also learned, on that subject, is that the golden moment on the podium never just happens by luck or accident. It’s not enough

to turn up on the day and hope, just as it’s not enough to hope the season, or the event, will make up the retail shortfall. The kids who have been inspired by the moments of triumph and national hero-worship they’ve seen on TV are now queuing up to enrol for every kind of sport. But we know that only the special few will stick at it, day in and day out, and earn themselves the chance of their own golden moment in four years’ time in Rio. Only the few will have the staying-power to put themselves through what all successful athletes impose on themselves: the hard, grinding miles on those bleak, freezing, lonely winter mornings when no-one is watching, and the only driving forces are determination and iron self-discipline. The ability to rise to the challenge when it matters isn’t a magic gift. It’s built on every day graft, working doggedly to be the best even when it’s tempting to turn over and take an extra hour in bed. Business enterprise in general, and retail in particular, are like that, too. If you haven’t been thinking, planning, working, researching, implementing for the Christmas season every day, you won’t be prepared to bring your best performance to the big event. If it’s a temporary bit of euphoria that has no lasting benefits, the “Olympic effect” is just another “bread and circuses” moment, entertaining and distracting the masses for a brief while from the process of exploiting, robbing and short-changing them on a daily basis. The task for 2012 – and beyond – is to get a grip on the financial system, demand service from it, and reject any attempts to return to the “bankers get rich first, and you pick up the crumbs” regime that has damaged our country so profoundly. Hard miles, every day, for businesses to put in, but worth it for the prospect of genuine, deserved golden moments.

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Average net circulation for the 12 issues distributed between Jan-Dec 2008 is 6,228

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THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS

Shop price inflation rises slightly Shop price inflation increased marginally to 1.1% in August from 1.0% in July, as non-food deflation slowed from 0.3% to 0.1% and food inflation, at 3.1%, remained unchanged.

August sales growth worst this year

T

he retail boost expected by the London Olympics failed to materialise, according to the BRC, which reported retail sales values down by 0.4% on a like-for-like basis from August 2011, when they had fallen 0.6% on the preceding year. Excluding the Easter holiday time shift, the figure was the lowest since November 2011 and driven by particularly weak performances in the non-food sector.

July online sales produce record 2012 growth Online sales of electrical goods increased 30% in July as wet weather kept many shoppers off the high street during the build up to the Olympics. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed a boost in HD TVs and other electrical devices as consumers stayed indoors and prepared themselves in advance of the Games. Total online sales grew at their highest level this year, recording a 17% increase on July 2011 and a 9% increase on June 2012. IMRG estimates that £6.5 billion was spent online during the month – an average of £128 per person. Sales growth for the year to date, at 13%, was said to be in line with previous forecasts.

The BRC said the most noticeable impact was felt online, which saw growth of just 4.8% during the month – the lowest since October 2008 when the recording of online data began. Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “As summer gives way to the all-important Christmas run up, retailers will be hoping sales that didn’t happen in August have been postponed and not lost entirely.”

Vacant shop numbers still rising, says LDC Figures released by the Local Data Company show that 14.6% of shops in Britain are now empty, with all regions, bar London, showing increased vacancy levels between January and June this year. The LDC said consumer spending, which it estimates has fallen back to 2002 levels, is partly to blame for the rise in vacancies, but online sales and retail space expansion are also factors.

No change in consumer confidence levels Consumer confidence in the UK remained at a low level in August despite hopes that it would receive a shot in the arm from the London Olympics. The GfK Consumer Confidence Index showed the figure unchanged from July, at -29, though the

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reading was broadly in line with economists’ forecasts. Nick Moon, managing director of Social Research at GfK, said confidence has never been so low for so long, “even during the dark days of the 2008-2009 recession.”

Retail footfall drops further in second quarter Retail footfall in the second quarter of this year dropped 2.3% on the same period in 2011 – worse than the 2.0% fall in the previous quarter – with high streets showing the biggest decline. According to the BRC/Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor, weaker figures were recorded for all types of shopping locations: out-of-town fell 1.2%, shopping centres by 0.4% and high streets by 5.5%. BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said that wet weather was largely responsible for the 3-month decline, but apart from the Christmas boost in December, numbers have been down for 18 months.

Consumer goods producers report solid output The downturn in the UK manufacturing sector showed signs of easing during August following a severe contraction in the previous month. The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 49.5, from 45.2 in July, a 4-month high and only slightly below the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Manufacturing production fell for the second successive month in August, albeit to a much lesser degree than in July. Output rose solidly at consumer goods producers, while intermediate goods companies saw a marginal return to growth. Declines were centred on the investment goods sector. Markit said that the broad stagnation of new orders was still a marked improvement on the severe decline seen in the prior month as companies reported a modest increase in new work from domestic clients. The rate of decline in new export orders also eased sharply despite weak demand from Europe, which itself is suffering a downturn in manufacturing output.


THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS

Hughes Electrical receives Investors in People ‘Gold’ The Hughes Electrical Group has joined fewer than 600 British businesses in achieving Gold Level in the Investors in People scheme. The award covers all companies within the Group: Hughes Electrical; Trade Electricals Direct (TED);

Alltrade 2012 trade show Alltrade, a leading distributor of aerial, satellite and related products, has announced that its 2012 Trade Show, sponsored by Triax, will take place 11th October at the Copthorne Hotel Effingham Gatwick. Exhibitors from the Aerial, Satellite, CI AV, TV, Solar Energy and Door Entry industries are just a few of those attending the event to provide retailers and installers with information and demonstrations on latest product ranges. Alltrade, an authorised distributor for Humax and now a key distributor for the brand’s new DTR-T1000 YouView set-top box, said it is actively promoting new areas of revenue for installers and retailers now that the switchover boom has come to a natural end. The 2012 Trade Show is open to all UK retailers and installers. More than 30 companies will be exhibiting at the event, which offers a free bar and buffet, entry into a free prize draw and a range of promotions exclusive to the show. To attend, simply preregister by sending an email to tradeshow@ alltrade.co.uk stating your name, the name of the company you will be representing and your contact telephone number.

Bennetts and Apollo 2000, which employ in total nearly 700 people. Managing Director Robert Hughes said the achievement was “another major step forward” for the Group which last year celebrated 90 years in business.

E-crime costs retailers £205 million a year New ways of shopping are being accompanied by new types of crime, according to the BRC, which released the findings of its first e-crime study showing the total cost of e-crime to retailers in 2011-12 was at least £205.4 million – 0.75% of the £28 billion online retail sales in the period. Personal identification-related frauds were the most expensive for retailers, producing £20 million in losses. Card fraud, the second most expensive, was responsible for £15 million in losses, and refund fraud accounted for £1.2 million in losses. The study noted that UK brands and companies are the second most targeted in the world and in proportion to the total value of sales, e-crime here is twice as costly as overall retail crime, which at £1.4 billion is 0.36% of the £303 billion value of all retail sales. The UK is world leader in online retailing with the biggest internet spend per capita and 11% of global sales, yet the BRC said retailers showed “a lack of confidence” in the official response to e-crime. 60% of those questioned in the survey said it was unlikely they would report any more than 10% of e-crimes to the police.

GDHA launches new delivery service Buying group CI(H) has announced that its 2013 Euronics Showcase will take place in Hall 12 at the NEC in Birmingham on April 14-15. The event will be larger than the 2012 show and will feature new market opportunities for members, including audio, IT and small domestic appliances.

Glen Dimplex Home Appliances has upgraded its Tradeplace ordering facility to offer real-time stock availability updated every 15 minutes, and launched an improved home delivery service for retailers and customers. Go Deliver is GDHA’s new “fast and flexible” home delivery service, which offers customers a choice of three delivery options: Go Deliver Express promises home delivery within 48 hours of ordering; Go Deliver & Install includes installation; Go Deliver Premier includes delivery, installation and the removal and safe disposal of old appliances.

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Billy and Beko are back on TV.

We’re supporting our retail partners with our largest ever consumer campaign: • 40 million consumers nationwide • New TV advert premieres on X Factor in October • Campaign continues across Web, Digital, Social and Print throughout main season

Beko - supporting our retail partners through 2012 See our full product range at www.beko.co.uk


THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS

Beko commissions new lorry fleet A new fleet of Beko lorries has been brought into commission, replacing the company’s existing fleet and sporting livery that will ensure the vehicles stand out on the road. The fifteen new trucks are Euro 5 compliant, enabling the company to achieve fuel efficiencies in the transportation of products.

Tyrone the T.Rex turns up in Peterborough A four-metre T.Rex figure constructed from recycled WEEE attracted visitors to a 2-day WEEE amnesty, a collaboration between Repic, Peterborough City Council, Enterprise Peterborough and Indesit Company, which resulted in the collection of more than a tonne of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Samsung equips floating eco home with MDA and CE products A floating home moored on the Thames in London and kitted out with Samsung appliances is to become one of the most sustainable homes in the Capital. ‘Inachus’ is part of Sanitov Floating Homes’ ongoing Future Cities project, and is the first in what will become a floating community of individually customised homes based on the same design. It is one of around 40 dwellings in the UK to carry Energy Level 5 status and is equipped with Samsung consumer electronics and domestic products, including the brand’s latest refrigerator, washing machine, floorcare, cooking products, tablets and LED TVs.

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Gorenje-sponsored driver resumes BTCC season with a victory Gorenje-sponsored professional racing driver Andrew Jordan began the second half of this year’s BTCC season with a win at Snetterton, Norfolk on Sunday 12th August. The Pirtek racing team member leads in the Independents Trophy and holds fourth place in the overall rankings after scoring strongly in 13 of the 15 races of the first half of the season.

Simon Fox departs HMV

Former Best Buy buyer joins Euronics team

HMV CEO Simon Fox has stepped down after six years with the company that he steered though one of the toughest times in its history. Fox, credited by HMV chairman Philip Rowley for “playing an invaluable part in securing HMV’s future,” has moved on to head up ailing newspaper group Trinity Mirror. Former Jessops boss Trevor Moore has taken on the HMV role.

Buying and marketing group Euronics has appointed former Best Buy buyer Matthew Doyle to the role of assistant brown goods buyer, responsible for developing and growing the group’s audio and IT portfolio of brands. Brown goods buyer Hugh Watchman said Doyle’s background in buying means he has “the necessary skills from the offset and will be looking to introduce a number of new suppliers to the group.”

GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

LG breaks new ground in home entertainment LG Electronics has laid claim to launching the world’s biggest ultra-definition 3D TV, which went on sale in South Korea on 23 August for KRW25 million (around £14,000). The 84-inch 4K model is, said LG, “the company’s response to growing consumer demand for larger, more immersive home TVs with greater functionality.” Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company, acknowledged that the 4K display market is still in its infancy but said it was “important for LG to claim a stake in this space.” The new model boasts 8 million pixels per frame (3840x2160), four times the resolution of existing Full HD TV panels, due in large part to LG’s advanced Triple XD Engine. It also features a 2.2 Speaker System consisting of two 10W speakers and two 15W woofers, which produce an audio experience that complements the UD visuals produced by the massive screen to create a theatre-like experience in the home. LG said the unit will roll out in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America starting in September. Sony, too, is to begin a phased global launch of 4K LCD TVs, with an 84-inch model available from the end of 2012. The BRAVIA KD-84X9005 incorporates Sony’s ‘4K X-Reality PRO’ superresolution, high picture quality engine.

John Lewis opens first pop-up shop John Lewis has established a pop-up shop in Exeter ahead of the opening of a flexible format store in the City during October. The unit, sited on Exeter High Street, houses fashion, beauty, consumer electronics and home products in a contemporary, industrial-style environment with approximately 1,200 square feet of selling space. The shop is designed in line with John Lewis’ omnichannel strategy and will act as a Click & Collect hub. The Exeter outlet will be the retailer’s first flexible format department store. It will incorporate over 65,000 square feet of selling space spread over five floors and will be the biggest John Lewis shop to open this year and the first in Devon & Cornwall.


THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS

Casio enters rugged BRC announces top-level Android tablet market management changes Casio Electronics has announced a new range of Android tablets designed to improve the customer experience and business operations in retail environments. The units integrate seamlessly with Casio’s Android-powered EPoS terminals and will also benefit from a range of retail-focused apps available from Casio’s newly launched cloud-based Business Portal. The new tablets, which are available this autumn, are part of the Synergix stable of EPoS solutions, the barcode and scanner specialist division of the Midwich group of distributors.

Group CE of Kingfisher Ian Cheshire and KPMG Head of Retail Helen Dickinson are to become leaders of the British Retail Consortium. Cheshire, a major retail industry figure, has been the Group CE of Kingfisher plc since January 2008 and an executive director since June 2000. He takes over on 1 October 2012 from current Chairman Rob

Templeman, who moves into the role of Deputy Chairman. Helen Dickinson joins the BRC as Director General Designate on 1 December 2012, formally taking over the post on 1 January 2013 from Stephen Robertson who will have been in the role for five years. Dickinson has over 20 years’ experience at KPMG as UK Head of Retail.

retra and CAI join forces Gorenje has appointed Lauren Abbott to the role of Marketing Manager.

LAUREN ABBOTT

Samsung has announced a free 5-year warranty on selected appliances, available on purchases made before 31st October 2012. Those eligible are: the ecobubble™ washing machine; G-Series refrigeration range; Dual Cook oven range; 45cm compact oven range. Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska has struck an advertising deal with Polish household appliances firm Amica. The 23-year-old tennis star will begin appearing in the company’s ads this autumn. David Winterbottom moves from the role of International Sales Director to Managing Director Vax. De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances has appointed Dublin-based NAA Ltd as its exclusive distributor for the De Dietrich Premium Collection in Ireland. Distribution of the De Dietrich core range remains with DIMPCO. Trevor Hegarty joins refrigeration expert Liebherr as Area Sales Manager for Birmingham and the South West. Small appliances brand Morphy Richards has appointed Big Red Sales to handle sales of its products to the independent sector. Former Alphason Furniture and Armour Home ASM Keith Hayes has joined Sonorous (UK) as UK Sales Manager. LGL Distribution has appointed Steve Clayton to the role of Northern Area Sales Manager, managing the Midlands and the North, and Peter O’Reilly as National Key Account Manager.

Industry body retra and the Confederation of Aerial Industries have agreed to an exchange of membership benefits with regard to training and certification of digital home technology installers. A joint statement released by the two parties said that potential and existing retra members wishing to become part of ‘retra install’ will be offered CAI courses at the CAI member rate in order to increase their knowledge and achieve certification in installation skills. JR Ad GC 102x145mm:Layout 1 23/8/11 15:18 Page 1

Bring a different flavour to your business If you want to achieve success in today’s difficult economic environment then know-how, planning and experience are key ingredients and so are the team you have around you. If you are missing any of these ingredients then we can help. A Simple Approach to Business JR Associates can bring a different flavour to your business, with a refreshingly simple approach. Working with energy and enthusiasm to ensure every aspect of your operation performs to the maximum. Build a Successful & Profitable Business We can assist you in: • Recruitment • Business Plans • Sales and Marketing Strategies • Pricing Policies • Training and anything else you need, to create a successful and profitable business. We’ll then even help you sell it or merge, if that is your objective. The Experience to Bring Success JR Associates is headed up by John Reddington, one of the CE markets most experienced professionals. He has an enviable track record and reputation, plus over 35 years experience.

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THE WORD | INDUSTRY NEWS

Beko is supporting the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport with a donation to its ‘Saving HMS Alliance Appeal’, a fundraising drive to raise money to save the World War II-era submarine which is a memorial to the 5,300 British submariners who lost their lives in service. The donation will contribute to £7 million of essential preservation work on the 67-year old vessel.

Sharp Electronics posted a net loss of ¥138.4 billion on sales of ¥458.6 billion for the three months ended 30 June 2012. Losses grew from -¥49.3 billion in the comparative period, as sales declined 28.4%. Sharp said it would cut 5,000 jobs, around 10% of its workforce, as part of its plans to reduce costs and ensure a recovery in profitability from fiscal 2013 onwards. The company adjusted its annual loss forecast to ¥250 billion, up from the ¥30 billion forecast in April this year. HMV Group posted a £38.6 million loss for the 52 weeks ended 28 April 2012 with like-for-like sales down 12.1% on the prior year. The company, which recently secured £220 million bank refinancing to September 2014, reported restructuring costs of £11.1 million during the 12-month period and said gross margin rose by 90 basis points.

Samsung extends lead over mobile phone rivals Samsung, which is battling yet another round of patent infringements brought by Apple, has extended its existing lead over mobile phone rivals, with a 29.5% rise in the second quarter compared to the same 3-month period last year. Q2 units reached 90,432,100, giving Samsung a market share of 21.6%. Growth was driven by record sales of Galaxy smartphones. Smartphones now account for 50.4% of all Samsung mobile devices. Demand for the new Galaxy S3 was particularly strong, exceeding Samsung’s own expectations, with a reported 10 million units reached in the two months after its release. The Galaxy S3 was the bestselling Android product in the quarter and sales could have been higher but for product shortages, according to research analysts Gartner.

John Lewis completed its fiscal half year with overall sales up 12.9%. Electricals & Home Technology surpassed other directorates, rising 31.8% throughout the financial period. Sales at johnlewis.com rose by over 40%, with all categories “thriving”.

Panasonic returned to profit in the first quarter of its 2013 financial year, after posting a ¥772 billion loss in the 12 months to March 31. The company recorded net income of ¥12.81 billion for the three months ended 30 June 2012. Sales fell 6% to ¥1,814.5 billion in the quarter, while operating profit increased to ¥38.6 billion from ¥5.6 billion a year ago.

Sony reported sales up 1.4% to ¥1,515.2 billion (US$19,180 million) for the first quarter ended 30 June 2012. The rise was attributed to an increase in sales in the

technology

innovative

Game, Mobile Products & Communications (MP&C) segment, as revenues in Home Entertainment & Sound decreased significantly. Operating income fell ¥21.2 billion to ¥6.3 billion. A net loss of ¥24.6 billion was recorded after income deteriorated ¥9.1 billion in the quarter.

Toshiba recorded sales down 4.3% to ¥1,268.9 billion in the quarter from April to June 2012. The company said the yearon-year fall was mainly due to the transfer of its LCD business and Yen appreciation. Operating income increased by ¥7.4 billion to ¥11.5 billion, despite Yen appreciation. Net income fell ¥12.6 billion in the period, to ¥12.1 billion. Sales in the Digital Products segment fell 17%; Electronic devices dropped 8%; and Home Appliances fell by 5% during the period.

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TRAINING

GARMENT CARE’S SECRET WEAPON… As the Official Garment Care Supplier to London Fashion Week, LG is in an authoritative position to offer guidance on garment care. For two consecutive years the brand has meticulously tended to the most delicate of fabrics used in the inspiring designs paraded at these prestigious events – the most prominent in the world’s fashion calendar – with its 6 Motion wash technology and dedicated ‘Steam Team’ working behind the scenes to help designers prepare their collections for the catwalk.

Research shows that, on average, the UK consumer spends £1,000 a year on clothing – a significant investment, which most will expect to provide gratifying returns for a considerable length of time. Garment care, therefore, is of the utmost importance to this style-conscious society. Clothes should be treated like a second skin in order to maintain their form, finish and freshness, so that they look as good as new throughout every wearing. From silks and satins, linens and woollens to babywear and sports clothing, LG’s innovative 6 Motion Direct Drive washing machines will ensure that fabrics stand the test of time.

Why is LG’s 6 Motion technology unique? LG’s design team has created an appliance that delivers the outstanding garment care expected by discerning consumers for whom style and fashion are an essential part of everyday life. It’s not enough for an appliance to simply wash items until clean. Laundry must be tended to with the highest degree of care: gently, efficiently and with the best use of resources from the start to the finish of the process. With this in mind, LG has developed a smarter way to wash: based on tried and tested hand-washing techniques, 6 Motion Direct Drive technology cleverly combines up to six wash motions to provide a pioneering method of delivering the ultimate in garment care and the best all-round performance.

6 moves to unrivalled garment care: Tumbling: Circular motion ideal for easy-care garment washing

Swing: Gentle tossing motion, as of hand-washing, ideal for delicates Filtration: Water & detergent-mix sprayed quickly and evenly to soak laundry faster for thorough washing, ideal for bulky items such as duvets Rolling: Silent rolling motion moves laundry around below the water level: effective, gentle and ideal for small items Scrubbing: A combination of scrubbing motion and ‘wave lifters’ that create a figure-8 puts detergents to work faster to eliminate stains. Ideal for heavy-duty, intensive washing Stepping: Repeated rotating and stopping motion which results in crease-free clothes. Ideal for cottons and making the most of non-iron fabrics

Double-D: performance that lasts LG is known for its commitment to performanceenhancing innovations that consumers want and retailers find easy to sell. It has proven itself as an industry leader in MDA technology and continues to set new standards of reliability, performance and energy efficiency. With LG’s leading-edge technology incorporated, not only will your customers’ prized fashion garments stand the test of time, their ‘6 Motion DD’ washing machine will too. And this has been made possible by the control and precision of LG’s inverter Direct Drive motor, which varies the movement and speed of each cycle with ease to provide minimum vibration, quiet operation and excellent resource savings. And because the Direct Drive motor has fewer moving parts and operates so efficiently, LG backs its longevity with a 10-year guarantee. LG’s 6 Motion Direct Drive washing machine range was first launched in the UK market in 2011. The collection comprises capacities up to 12kg with the brand’s TrueSteam™ technology, which refreshes clothes in just 20 minutes, available on selected models. 

www.lg.com/uk SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

13


Denon Globe Cruiser™ On-Ear Headphones

02890 279830 www.denon.co.uk

Denon’s Globe Cruiser™ On-Ear Headphones feature a 40mm driver, integrated amplifier, AAC and aptX decoding for CD quality audio over a wireless connection. The brand’s noise cancelling circuitry blocks out ambient noise for undisturbed listening and its Control Wheel enables users to effortlessly control iPhone/ iPad or other Bluetooth devices.

Rangemaster Professional+ 100FX range cooker

Rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours’ listening

Ear pads with memory foam / Two-axis ear cup articulation

Flat folding design for convenient packing / Leather travel case with karabiner / Cable and airline adapter for in-flight use

Integrated amplifier

Electrolux AirExcel Lite Electrolux’s AirExcel Lite is the brand’s most compact, lightweight upright vacuum cleaner, weighing in at just 4kg and featuring multi-cyclonic technology. The unit has all the features of a full size ‘heavyweight’ model and is available in two versions: Reach and Pet. The Reach ZAS5201A incorporates:

Rangemaster’s new Professional+ 100FX range cooker is a twin cavity model with continental-style dropdown door feature. The appliance boasts two A-rated ovens with a total capacity of 121 litres and storage drawer beneath. It is supplied with a semi-gloss cast iron wok ring and standard sit-on griddle. R/H oven: Convection cooking; Base heat; Closed door grilling; Top heat

10-metre stretch stair hose / 7m cord

L/H oven: Defrost, Fan oven, Fanned grilling, Fan assisted oven, Convection cooking, Base heat & Browning

200 airwatts / 2L dust capacity

Gas burner ratings: 1x 3.5kw, 2x 1.7kw, 1x 1.0kw, 1x 3.0kw

HEPA filtration with ARM & HAMMER® anti-odour system

Available in Gloss Black, Cranberry, Cream, Stainless Steel, Gloss White

Onboard turbo nozzle, dusting brush, extension tube and crevice nozzle

08445 614614 www.electrolux.co.uk

0870 789 5107 www.rangemaster.co.uk

Pure Move 400D DAB/FM travel radio Pure’s Move 400D is a rechargeable, rugged and compact digital and FM radio with built-in battery pack that recharges from the mains and a USB charger socket for charging on the go via a laptop. The unit comes with a real-time clock with automatic time zone adjustment.

Supports DAB, DAB+, DMB-R, L-band and FM

Up to 60 hours of digital radio via internal speaker or headphone output

20 presets (10 digital, 10 FM) / On-screen scrolling text

Splash-resistant brushed aluminium case / Non-slip foldout stand

Enhanced audio / Adjustable bass and treble

0845 1489001 www.pure.com

KitchenAid Twelix™ oven KitchenAid’s Twelix™ oven has a convection system with two independent semi-circular heating elements which improve airflow and heat distribution in the cavity. The A-rated appliance boasts a generous 73-litre capacity and cooks separate dishes on three shelf levels without the transfer of flavours or aromas. It also features KitchenAid’s Tweli-grill and Tweli-base cooking functions. ❯

33 electronic sensor-controlled cooking modes

5 telescopic shelf levels

Pyrolytic cleaning

Easy Clean stainless steel finish / Blue LCD electronic control and screen

0800 988 1266 www.kitchenaid.co.uk 14

SEP 2012


Miele ProfiLine dishwashers Miele’s new ProfiLine dishwasher collection comprises freestanding, semi and fully integrated models capable of completing full wash cycles in as little as 18 minutes. Miele is promoting the A+ rated range as ideal for office blocks, showrooms, clubhouses, cookery studios and private households. ❯

9 programmes

3D cutlery tray, adjustable in three directions

In-door salt container / BrilliantLight for a clear view of inner cabinet

24 hour Delay start / AutoOpen function for speedy drying

0845 365 6600 www.miele.co.uk

7CFT NEROiSLA extractor hood

Onkyo ABX-N300 iOnly Stream

Fagor’s 2012 collection features this 40cm stainless steel and black glass decorative island hood with digital touch controls and a high performance motor. The appliance is height adjustable and provides four extraction speeds (including boost), and is suitable for ducting or recirculation.

Onkyo has announced the release of the ABX-N300 iOnly Stream, its latest music system equipped with wireless home networking, AirPlay and a digital dock for iPod/iPhone. The unit offers a wide choice of content, greater convenience, and “superior” sound quality. ❯

Touch-sensor buttons on top panel

Sliding aluminum cover protects dock and controls

2 x full range bass reflex speakers and Active Bass Control

08712 001996

2 x halogen lights

Easy clean metal grease filter / Filter saturation indicators

Extraction 650m³/h / Noise Level: Boost 65dB(A) / Level 1 42dB(A)

01256 308 067

www.onkyo.co.uk

www.fagor.co.uk

De’Longhi Vintage Icona kettle and toaster Leader in stylish home appliances De’Longhi has launched the new Vintage Icona collection, offering a touch of classic glamour that wouldn’t be out of place in any kitchen. The range comprises beautifully styled, retro design kettles and 4-slice toasters, available in a variety of colours including black or tan matt finishes and gloss finishes in cream, green or blue.

Products in the collection are highly functional as well as elegant: the Vintage Icona kettle has features such as 3kW rapid boil, 360° swivel base and a washable scale filter, while the toaster boasts user-friendly attributes such as an ‘extra lift’ position for small slices, independent 2-slot browning control, reheat, defrost, bagel and cancel functions.

For further information: www.delonghi.co.uk

RRP: Kettle £79.99 / Toaster £79.99

SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

15


BRANDS OF DISTINCTION

Happy Birthday Belling!

100 years at the heart of British Cooking Belling Finds Fame Abroad

The Belling heritage

B

elling has been at the heart of British cooking for a century and is proud to say that four generations of cooks have grown up with a Belling appliance in their kitchen. Founded in 1912 by Charles Reginald Belling, with capital of just £150, a shed in Enfield and a young assistant, Belling has become one of the UK’s best loved appliance brands, with a multi-million pound turnover, worldwide exports and more than 1000 employees in the UK. Today, Belling is proud to be part of the only major cooking appliance manufacturer still producing in the UK, making uniquely British products for British cooks.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE....

purchase a new 30 acre site in Burnley, solely for the production of fires, allowing the Enfield factory to concentrate on the production of electric cookers. By the time of the company’s Golden Jubilee in 1962 – when the Belling ‘Forty-seven’ was Britain’s most popular cooker – Belling & Co owned 70 acres of freehold property with more than a million square feet of production space. The 1970s saw Belling continue to innovate, unveiling the cooking sector’s most important Belling’s innovation CHARLES REGINALD BELLING launch of the decade – the first Belling’s rich 100-year history has domestic fan oven, the ‘Classic seen it launch a number of world Double Extra’ – at the Electricity Council’s Electric and UK cooking and heating firsts, developing Living Exhibition. This was followed closely in products and technologies decades ago that the early 1980s with yet another UK first in the still are important to Britain today. form of the first slot-in cooker, the Belling Format After revolutionising electric fire design 600X Cook Centre. with the Firebar in 1912, Belling revealed its Belling was purchased by Glen Dimplex first complete domestic cooker in 1919, with Group in 1992 and soon launched the forerunner the legendary Baby Belling making its first of today’s range cookers, the Belling Farmhouse. appearance in the 1920s. More recently, Belling committed to In 1931 Belling launched the first returning production of its cooking fully enamelled cooker and in the appliances to the UK and same decade became the first launched some UK and world manufacturer to introduce firsts in induction, in the form of glass doors to its ovens. the FSE60i, the first freestanding After playing a vital double oven with induction hob, role in the Second World War by suspending cooker and the BI60i Eco Induction oven, the first built-in oven to use induction production to produce rifle within the cavity. grenades, incendiary bomb snuffers and multiple rocket guns, the 1950s saw Belling FORMAT 600X COOK CENTRE

16

GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

Parent company GDHA announced its intention to export its home-grown Belling, Stoves and New World cooking appliances in 2009 and over the last three years has delivered record financial performance, growing revenues by a total of 880%. During that time it has expanded rapidly in overseas markets, exporting successfully to Australia, France, Spain, Belgium, Cyprus and Holland and, more recently, building relationships with Poland, Germany and Israel. In recognition of the performance of Belling and GDHA’s other brands abroad, the company was recently awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2012 in the International Trade category.

Award winning service GDHA’s UK-based customer call centre employs more than 120 Belling experts and a talented team of 180 skilled engineers, providing the first class customer service that has led to it winning the coveted Total Excellence and Quality (TEQ) service award for the fourth time, having previously become the first manufacturer to win three consecutive awards, and achieving its highest ever score in 2012. An impressive 95% of GDHA’s customers rated its Customer Service as excellent or good, placing the company 2.3 points clear of the runners up in the ‘white goods manufacturer’ category of Domestic & General’s 2012 survey.


BRANDS OF DISTINCTION

The Centenary Collection To celebrate its centenary, Belling unveiled a collection of products combining its rich heritage as a great British brand with modern good looks and technical innovation. The 100 Collection boasts clean lines, a brilliant white finish and chrome accents on a range of eyecatching and effortlessly stylish appliances with real ‘wow’ factor. The collection offers a choice of four freestanding ovens, four range cookers, four built-in ovens and a new look for the legendary Baby Belling.

Denver Hewlett, Chief Executive, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances

FSE60I FREESTANDING DOUBLE OVEN WITH INDUCTION HOB

As the current

our successful campaign to

custodian of the

bring induction technology

Belling brand

to a wider market reflects

it makes me

the very essence of the

immensely proud to see

Belling brand – accessible,

this famous and much loved

practical, stylish and

company celebrate 100 years

providing value-for-money

in business.

products that people like.

“When you consider what

CELEBRATING IN STYLE Belling has marked its special birthday in style with a series of events and activities. A new limited edition history book charting the company’s progress from 1912 to the present day was produced, and a special launch event for the 100 Collection was held at London’s prestigious Savoy Hotel. Belling staff and Facebook fans also chose Anthony Nolan, a pioneering charity that saves the lives of people with blood cancers such as leukaemia, as their charity of the year. A range of fundraising events have taken place, including charity bike rides and marathon running, plus a donation from sales of the 100 Collection is also being made to the charity.

“My role as custodian

a pivotal role Belling has

of the Belling brand

played in cooking history

means I am responsible for

it should be no surprise

maintaining its reputation

that we are celebrating our

and standing in the market

centenary. The key to the

and ensuring we continue to

brand’s success has always

innovate and lead. But most

been innovation, responding

importantly, it is to make

creatively to the needs of

certain that, when the time

families and British cooks.

comes for me to hand over

“Indeed, since the dawn

the reins, Belling is in the

of the new Millennium,

best possible condition to

innovation has become

remain a major player in the

even more important within

cooking industry for a long

the industry and we have

time to come.”

ensured that Belling has continued to lead. I believe

www.belling.co.uk

SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

17


DISHWASHERS

a r o f e T im h g u o r h breakt

find sodden and stained cloths in UK kitchens, and those that are used to wipe worktops (and the odd spill on the floor while no-one’s looking) are employed also to wash and dry dishes.

No-brainer It is debatable which of the many attributes of the dishwasher are the most beneficial, but hygiene – washing efficiently at temperatures unbearable to the human hand and drying to a sparkle without the use of aforementioned E.

The drive to increase the penetration of dishwashers in UK homes continues, with manufacturers working to educate retailers and retailers to convince their customers of the undeniable advantages of these appliances that should rightly, by now, be considered as essential along with the fridge, cooker and washing machine. But penetration is again in suspension, leaving the majority of UK households still missing out on the benefits of convenience, time- and resource-savings and improved hygiene in the home

D

id you know that Britain has been dubbed “the dirtiest nation” in the developed world? Apparently so, according to the UK Hygiene Council, which in a swab test of a sample of homes in seven countries “across the globe” found us to be severely lacking in our understanding of what constitutes good hygiene and cleanliness in the home, preferring to expend our energies on cleaning the rubbish bin and the toilet than ensuring that our kitchens are germ free.

FAGOR’S LF73DWITU FEATURES A DUO ZONE HALF LOAD SETTING THAT CAN BE USED FOR EITHER BASKET

18

Now, while we’d be the first to argue that seven countries can hardly provide a representative sample of the developed world, the Hygiene Council did come up with a finding that most of us would probably not dispute: “Cloths are the ‘bug superhighway’ of the kitchen.” Quantifying the statement, the Council reported that a quarter of the UK’s kitchen cloths harbour E. Coli bacteria. Yet despite two thirds of Britons claiming to be more aware of the importance of home hygiene than they were a year earlier, it is more usual than not to

Coli-laden cloths – must surely deserve a high ranking. Then there are the water savings. According to Defra’s Market Transformation Programme, which references research carried out by Bonn University, the average water consumption to wash 140 items, or 12 place settings, by hand is 63 litres, and those who wash all or part under running water could use more than 150 litres. By contrast, there are dishwashers on the market today that will wash the same number of items (or more) using just 6 or 7 litres of water, and most appliances, even at entry level, use only a few litres (some up to half-a-dozen or so) more. Of course, habits vary widely amongst those who do wash dishes by hand: some will change the bowl of water frequently, while others are content to continue washing items even when the water is contaminated with food debris and grease. And to quote a statement from The Guardian’s Green Living section, even if consumers do wash up carefully by hand they’ll still lose out on hygiene, with nearly 400 times more bacteria left on dishes after washing, and on time, as washing by hand clearly takes much longer than loading a dishwasher. Since these are just some of the many considerable benefits of dishwasher ownership, why is the UK public, on the whole, still dishwasher-shy?

Shifting trends Dishwasher penetration in the UK tends to move in fits and starts, showing respectable measures of growth followed by relatively long periods of inactivity. And, according to most industry commentators, there has been little movement in the past couple of years: at 37%-40% the level has plateaued yet again, so still lags significantly behind the 55%-60% achieved by our European neighbours. Amica UK country manager Simon Freear reminds us that household penetration in 1999 was 20%, so it would be fair to say that


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of new builds, and once the housing market picks up again this will lead to an uptake in sales. Furthermore, with growth in consumer awareness and the ever greater efficiencies offered by the latest models, we expect the majority of homes to have a dishwasher within the next five years. The replacement market will also grow as many consumers will be on their second or third appliance.” Whirlpool’s Haddad also notes the boost that is to come from the new build sector picking up: “Building regulations make it necessary for newly built homes to meet a minimum water efficiency standard of 125 litres per person per day, which means that the dishwasher will play a major role in reducing water consumption in the homes of the future.”

progress has been unhurried and it will be an impulsive individual who should predict when Time out maturity or saturation may be reached. On the lifestyle trends that will determine the That said, there are certain trends that show future success of the category, the need for “me the dishwasher message is sinking in, such as a time” is a growing theme for what has become a shift towards slim-line products as consumers time poor, hard-working society. Gorenje’s Miller look for time-saving appliances to fit the observes that consumers are much more focused compact kitchens common in many UK homes. on their quality of life, choosing to spend any Slim-line dishwashers gained 2% in volume share to account for 21% of the market during 2011 and, according to Baumatic Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi, the market is expected to grow by a “staggering” 40% over the next five years as more consumers take advantage of these smaller sized units. Laura Selten, Laundry and Dishwashers free time available enjoying themselves rather Product Manager at Beko, quotes GfK figures that than toiling in the home. “Doing the dishes is a show the dishwasher market was surprisingly tedious, time-consuming chore that many would buoyant in 2011, with gains of 3.7% in volume love to avoid. And while sales have become and 4.1% in value helping to lift both the slightly more difficult, this new consumer freestanding and built-in sectors. The first half of mindset will help ensure the sector’s success.” 2012, however, has been less encouraging, with “Time is precious to us all,” adds Maytag Brand volumes falling 7.2%. Selten notes that it is the Communications Manager Juliana Sado. “For the freestanding sector which has lost out as volume busy consumer who wants to spend less time and value in built-in appliances have continued doing household chores, the dishwasher will to increase. Richard Walker, sales and marketing eventually become a necessity.” director at De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances, Whirlpool’s Haddad points out that the highlights AMDEA figures which show that the modern-day family can save up to 400 hours a built-in market represents 35% of the overall sector and has recorded around 4% growth per annum since 2009. Regional sales of dishwashers differ significantly, too, according to Beko’s Selten. “London accounts for 40% of all sales, with continuing growth, while other regions vary; the lowest sales being in the South West and North East.” The various shifts in product trends signal a developing interest in dishwashers, and although growth has been slower than desired, Gorenje Sales and Marketing Director Bill Miller believes the signs for the next THE NEW ZANUSSI QUADRO® ZDT15002FA FULLY INTEGRATED five years are good. “Dishwashers are DISHWASHER installed as standard in the majority

HOTPOINT’S FLEXILOAD BASKET SYSTEM

year using a dishwasher and “interestingly”, she says, the appliance also encourages people to wash up less often, “thereby contributing to a reduction in the household’s carbon footprint, reducing water and energy bills, keeping worktops clear of clutter and doing a better and more hygienic job than washing up by hand.” Haddad also makes reference to the appliance “whispering away quietly in the openplan living space.”

We’ve witnessed some ingenious ways created by consumers to cram more items into the standard basket layout”

20

GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

Peace and quiet Open-plan living is gaining traction in the UK and with this comes a new focus on appliances’ operational noise levels. Hoover Candy Marketing Director Steve Macdonald remarks that this highly favoured lifestyle choice brings an even greater requirement for dishwashers that operate quietly so conversation or TV watching isn’t disrupted. To which Baumatic’s Balestrazzi adds: “Investment in soundproofing design and technology has ensured that new dishwashers are much easier to incorporate into crowded living spaces as well as open-plan homes. Collapsible racks may seem like a small design feature,” she says, “but they’ve helped to reduce noise levels by ensuring that there is no loose crockery rattling around inside appliances. Stainless steel tubing and rubber soundproofing have also been used to minimize noise, as has the incorporation of jet spray systems in which water is supplied in controlled showers rather than a continuous noisy rush.” De Dietrich’s Walker is of the opinion that the move towards open-plan living has helped the dishwashers sector. His view is that, with lack of space in the kitchen


DISHWASHERS

Just swell... Innovation in dishwashers has brought us appliances that save time, effort, resources and money, while improving home hygiene and tidiness, reducing households’ carbon footprint and promoting sustainability. And still, product design continues to develop and improve. Capacity has been an essential focus for manufacturers in recent years: as household demands change and expand, so too does the quantity and physical size of crockery and cookware in use in UK homes. And so we’ve witnessed some ingenious ways created by consumers to cram more items into the standard basket layout, many resulting in dissatisfaction with product performance. But progress has intervened, and most dishwashers are now better equipped to serve the needs of changing lifestyles. AEG says it has “shaken off the shackles” imposed by the industry’s standard 1970s place setting layout to comfortably accommodate 21st Century wash loads. Its ProClean dishwasher range has been redesigned to provide 10 litres of extra loadable volume, accommodating bigger dishes, pots and pans and larger plates up to 34cm diameter. The specially engineered baskets ensure that items are angled for maximum coverage from the double rotation Satellite Sprayarm, which operates at 5 spray levels to ensure optimum cleaning. The addition of a third level or mezzanine in dishwashers is also now a common feature. Hoover draws our attention to its 3D model

with 15 place settings, available in freestanding and integrated versions and providing flexible loading with a height adjustable middle basket. Baumatic points out that its 3D Series models offer a resource-saving alternative wash function which allows the user to select any one of the three baskets for washing. And Miele’s newly launched ProfiLine dishwashers have a 3D cutlery tray which is adjustable in three directions, adapting to various load arrangements. Lowering the central section allows ample space for items such as whisks and ladles, while sliding the side inserts towards the centre provides greater headroom in the upper basket for items such as tall wine glasses.

Enhanced performance Further developments in product design have centred on washing and drying performances, such as the ‘High Definition’ sensor controlled cleaning in Hotpoint’s recently launched Ultima models: the A+ rated FDUD4411 uses as little as 7 litres of water to wash a full load, and the A++ rated FDUD4212 incorporates a patented drying process. Steam cleaning is another development that we can expect to see more of in dishwashers, as in Maytag’s MDW606AWG, for example, which uses as little as 6 litres of water to wash a full load and has a Steam Clean option that works in conjunction with the brand’s IntelliSense®

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matters

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MAYTAG’S 6LITRE DISHWASHER WITH STEAM CLEAN OPTION

technology to gently remove stubborn stains such as lipstick and tea. It also does away with the need to pre-rinse dishes and it sanitises, too, so works well for items such as chopping boards.

Yet to come.... Looking at how dishwashers will develop in the future, Whirlpool sees products being part of an integrated ecosystem that combines appliances in a synergetic way to save water, heat and electricity. The company has invested in the GreenKitchen™ 2.0 concept which, through the integration of appliances with the latest technology, optimises the use of heat and water to increase energy efficiency by up to 70%. Dishwashers is a competitive market brimming with opportunity: 1) due to low household penetration; 2) those coming back into the market – “the converts” – will surely trade up to a higher specification appliance. Then there are the economic and lifestyle factors to take into account: energy and water bills are rising and time has become one of consumers’ most valued commodities. It’s time for a breakthrough. This is 21st Century Britain. Spending leisure time pouring money down the kitchen sink should not be an option.

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being one of the determining factors in lower household penetration, the open living environment more easily accommodates installation, without compromising valuable storage space. Dishwasher manufacturers have responded to the open-plan trend by developing “ever quieter machines” that do all the hard work, adds Walker, highlighting the latest ICS model from De Dietrich’s Premium collection, which he says operates at just 39dB(A).

www.dad-online.co.uk Tel: 0844 854 6715 Fax: 0844 854 6716


THE GREEN ROOM

Powering the Nation GREEN RO

T

OM The recent Powering the Nation study, HE conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the Energy Saving Trust, revealed some interesting insights (and a few surprises) when it comes to how consumers use their everyday electrical appliances. The most notable of which being the unwitting use of energy which could be saved had products been used differently, routines adapted a little, or some features not used at all. GC reports

P

owering the Nation is an absorbing and comprehensive study which shows that consumers are still getting to grips with minimising their energy consumption around the home. Not only are we a nation of TV watchers, spending on average 6 hours a day viewing and £80 per year on powering entertainment equipment, but we leave living room, study and kitchen appliances on standby, adding up to a further £86 per year to our electricity bills. Most of us are guilty of not using the most efficient programmes on our major domestic appliances, and we dry laundry in a tumble dryer when it could be air-dried outdoors.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach – seemingly oblivious to the outstanding progress made by manufacturers in reducing the energy consumption of products used (or misused) so extensively in UK homes – said: “As this survey shows, we are using a lot more energy than previously thought. Manufacturers need to develop more energy-efficient electrical products and help consumers save money and the environment.” The critical comment was hardly encouraging for the electrical industry, which has committed immense effort and resources to the research, development and promotion of technologies that improve sustainability.

A+ ENERGY RATED BEKO WMI71641 WASHING MACHINE Recommended by the Energy Saving Trust Although today’s consumers know they should be thinking about the environment, many feel bamboozled by the wealth of information out there, which is often complex and scientific. The Energy Saving Trust helps consumers to quickly and easily identify energy saving products that will use less energy, save them money on their fuel bills and consequently help them ‘do their bit’ for the environment, without any confusing lingo or scientific terms.

Beko is continuing to work closely with the Energy Saving Trust to ensure that its products meet the requirements of the Trust in order to gain the ‘Energy Saving Trust Recommended’ product certification, such as the A+ energy rated Beko WMI71641 washing machine, which has an Eco Clean 30 programme that uses less energy and water without compromising on cleaning results. Les Wicks, Head of Product and Buying at Beko Plc

22

GET CONNECTED SEP 2012


THE GREEN ROOM

THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

ZANUSSI QUADRO® ZOP38903XD EFFICIENT PYROLYTIC OVEN HOTPOINT WASHING MACHINES FEATURE AN ‘AUTO POWER OFF’ FUNCTION WHICH HELPS PREVENT UNNECESSARY ENERGY USE

However, it is with manufacturers that the burden of progress in this area will remain and, as such, we provide views from a selection of companies involved in the supply of ‘eco products’.

Inducing demand It is the wheels of commerce that provide us with the jobs that maintain our lifestyles, so it follows that it must be right and good for manufacturers and retailers to sell increasing numbers of products into UK homes. But when purchases of electrical/electronic goods are driven by desire rather than need or prudence, is our industry being environmentally unethical in speeding up the lifecycle of products to create and/or fulfill consumer aspirations and in promoting what may then amount to greater resource consumption? In the 1970s, the average number of electrical appliances/devices in UK homes was around a dozen, but today that figure has risen to 41. 29% of households own between 30 to 40 items and one in five owns more than 50 – a figure that rises to an incredible 85 at the top end of the scale. We know from experience that many households have multiple computers, multiple TVs and multiple radios, for example, so how can we possibly defend our position as supporters of sustainability? Simon Freear, country manager for Amica UK, though acknowledging that products are superseded within short periods of time, maintains that, “with technology advancing at such a rapid rate, this has to happen to pave the way for the next, better, more efficient and more convenient products.”

Freear concedes that there is a gadget on the market to take care of or make light work of pretty much every household chore and to enhance nearly every leisure activity, “but we lead much busier lives than we did in the 1970s,” he reasons. “Thank heavens for inventions such as the microwave, the TV recorder and the iPod, all of which have proved highly convenient, time saving and efficient, when you consider the speed with which the microwave cooks, for example, and the amount of packaging, fuel and emissions saved by recording/streaming rather than having CDs/DVDs delivered to shops and homes.” It is a valid point that Freear makes and it reminds us that amongst the many benefits gained by the fast-paced nature of this industry is that of choice, and with this comes more options to “go green,” says Baumatic Marketing Manager Rita Balestrazzi, whose opinion is that constant investment and developments have resulted in new forms of energy-saving technology, and although the product lifecycle is undoubtedly becoming shorter, rather than fight the trend, manufacturers “can and should” use it as an opportunity to develop even more energyefficient replacements for older appliances. “Diversifying and adding to product ranges is not only vital for the growth of the home appliance market, but also for the development of a more sustainable future. Stagnation in the market is unlikely to reduce carbon emissions; in fact, it will leave consumers with little option but to stick to their old energy-guzzling appliances and their energy inefficient user habits.”

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Looking at some of the areas which have benefited from developing demand, Balestrazzi highlights the progress in steam technology, which is now used to improve the speed and energy efficiency of cooking, laundry and dishwashing appliances, and induction, which, although “staunchly resisted” in the UK for years, she says is finally finding its place in the market. SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

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“There is a popular consumer misconception that if an appliance has programmes which take longer to complete then it must be costing more, but an ECO programme is always the most economical choice” Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager for Smeg (UK)

Guilt-free commerce? It is replacement rather than additional products that the MDA market tends to thrive on, and its intent in encouraging consumers to change products more frequently is considered to be purely ethical. As Darren Peake, Senior Category Manager for Hotpoint Laundry and Dishwashers, points out: “Some appliances like fridges could last for years, but modern appliances will certainly be more energy efficient.” To this he adds: “Indesit Company’s award winning in-house logistics division collects over 100,000 scrap [old/ inefficient] products every year for recycling. This goes to show that it’s not just our products that are becoming more energy and resource efficient – the way we work day to day also reflects our commitment to the environment.” So, that’s the MDA sector off the hook. Or is it? Not according to the Powering the Nation study, which estimates that standby usage costs UK households £50 to £86 per year and represents 9% 24

GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

to 16% of the average electricity bill. The survey takes in all ‘standby’ states, such as delay start, energy saving and suspend modes. And while figures show a relatively high baseline demand for power throughout the night – between the hours of 1am to 7pm – with TVs, set-top boxes and other AV equipment noted as the worst offenders, the MDA category is not free from guilt, as consumers are increasingly leaving washing machines and dishwashers on ‘standby’ too. But who is accountable for communicating to consumers the fact that they are losing money while they sleep, and that turning off equipment could significantly reduce electricity bills and carbon emissions?

When the night comes… Baumatic’s opinion is that manufacturers need to take responsibility for the appliances that they bring onto the market and this entails informing retailers and consumers of the energy efficiency of products. “Transparency on energy usage is integral to the collective effort to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions,” asserts Balestrazzi. “If consumers are unaware of which features drain the most energy, then they are unlikely to operate their appliances in the most energy efficient way. It is not enough for people to be informed about energy-saving functions if they are not generally aware of the rate of consumption of all critical features and

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THE GREEN ROOM

THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

“If consumers are interested in built-in cooking solutions they should be looking at induction hobs, which use significantly less energy than conventional electric models and are even more energy efficient than gas hobs” Libby Morley, Indesit Advertising and Communications Manager

standby after the cycle has finished.” And if an ‘auto power off ’ feature is incorporated, as in Hotpoint washing machines, consumers can save even more money, he says. “Rightly or wrongly, consumers are more interested in reducing the cost of energy than actually using less energy.”

Using appliances efficiently

ENERGYSAVING INDUCTION HOB FROM THE BAUMATIC COLLECTION

programmes. Delay start timers, for example, could be used much more energy efficiently if consumers realised they could save money by minimising the lead up time to the start of the programme and the time the machine is left on after the cycle is completed.” In refrigeration, which operates 24/7 all year round, Balestrazzi says that ‘holiday’ and energy-saving modes are the only practical way in which to reduce energy consumption. “Switching the appliance off entirely might

appear to be the most energy-saving solution, but the reality is that once it is turned back on again, maximum power is likely to be used to ensure the unit reaches its recommended temperature.” Hotpoint’s Peake defends ‘standby’ by drawing our attention to households that have access to lower electricity rates at night, which means that appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines can be run less expensively than during the day “even if they remain on

ELECTROLUX’S ENERGY EFFICIENT 10KG WASHING MACHINE RANGE The new Electrolux Inspiration range of laundry appliances has the very best features of our professional machines adapted for the home, creating highly efficient systems that guarantee excellent results, productivity, hygiene and low operating costs. All models in the range are at least A+++ energy rated, while the top model, the Electrolux EWF1408WDL, is A+++20% – one of best energy ratings in Europe. Its AutoOff feature further ensures that no energy is consumed when the cycle has finished, while the Eco Feedback allows users to monitor the machine’s energy levels, so they can see the super-efficient results for themselves. For more information please visit www.electrolux.co.uk or call Trade Sales on 08445 610561

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GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

Households failing to use their domestic appliances efficiently, especially when washing clothes, was also raised by the Powering the Nation study. Apparently we spend at least £80 per year on laundry, with 5.5 washes a week, but we don’t use the most efficient programmes. One could ask: What’s the point in buying an energy-efficient appliance if we fail to use it energy efficiently? Are consumers simply neglectful, or do they not understand the capabilities of their new appliances? Or could it be that we are ‘blinding them with science’, bringing them to believe that if they buy ‘green’ then everything else – energy, water and time savings – will automatically follow?


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Important information for our customers Double D. Distributors Returns Policy. There have been changes in the practice and procedures by our suppliers to their Returns Policy which has a reflection on our working practice. In order to continue with our quality of service to you and to enhance our overall working standards, we intend to incorporate the measures and therefore wish to advise you of our new procedures. These will in no way affect your statutory rights but will speed up our methods and ultimately improve our service to you. The new procedure is as follows:-

Established in 1976, we have been servicing the independents for over 30 years. We distribute LED / LCD / PLASMA ƒ On receipt or notification of a returned item, you should phone our Administration Department who willreceivers, facsimile a copy of our Returnsand a great many accessories from HDMI cables to televisions, audio equipment, satellite media players Proforma. wall mountable brackets. We are a great asset to retailers who cannot trade directly with the big manufacturers ƒ On receipt of your notification our staff will forward a returns number and the detail required to deliver the goods to us. and we have the buying power to keep our prices competitive, to give you (the retailer) the best deals possible. ƒ All goods that are returned must have the number of the original We work closely with names such the as serial Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp, LG, Humax and many more. To see our new invoice. This big invoice shall include number of the returned catalogue ƒ oritem. to open an account with us, please phone our Sales line. We will be only too happy to help. The returned item will be accompanied by a proof of purchase that will show that the fault has occurred within 28 days from purchase by the customer from you. ƒ If the item has shown faulty outside the 28 day period then the manufacturers warranty comes into operation. ƒ Manufactures, such as Finlux, have maintained their returns policy and therefore we will continue to act as their agent for the stated period for returns until service set up is provided. ƒ Returned items should and where possible be returned in the original boxes, with all accessories. We appreciate this may prove difficult but every effort should be made to encourage this practice. If it is not possible, every effort should be made to ensure the safe carriage and return of the item to us.

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THE GREEN ROOM

THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

COOKING WITH BELLING: SMARTER, FASTER, SAFER AND GREENER Induction is an energy efficient, feature-rich technology that helps cooks to achieve perfect results. The Belling IH60RXL is a 60cm induction hob with a four-zone configuration and chunky, easy-to-use rotary controls. Abundant in features, the IH60RXL incorporates a ‘pause’ function that allows consumers to shutdown and restart the appliance at the touch of a button; a ‘recall’ function which automatically saves the last temperature setting used, so cooks can pick up where they left off; and a ‘keep warm’ feature which delivers constant low temperature, offering increased control for delicate tasks such as melting chocolate or creating delicate sauces. For peace of mind, the IH60RXL has an overheat sensor, residual heat indicators and a child lock. The appliance is also Energy Saving Trust Recommended and is made in Britain. www.belling.co.uk

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GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

contributed to additional and, in some cases, Beko’s Les Wicks believes that the irresponsible energy use, but in doing so we wealth of information consumers have would only be revealing part of the picture, access to often confuses due to the failing to consider the far-reaching positive complex nature of its content. But impact that this appliance has had on our lives. Baumatic’s Balestrazzi is more critical, Whether or not consumers have the space to decrying the “unfathomable terms” dry clothes outside is irrelevant if they can’t used by the industry, which she says afford the time it takes to hang their washing are “coined to spin new products and out. The tumble dryer has freed up time so their green credentials. Hyperbole,” people can lead more productive lives, be it at she adds, “can actually result in work or at home with the family.” consumers purchasing a model that Beko’s Wicks points out that “time is often doesn’t suit their needs and which they of the essence” and consumers can’t always consequently end up misusing. wait until clothes dry on the line. “Indeed, many “Consumers often don’t realise that consumers are very busy juggling a full time job energy-efficient programmes can be and a family. As a result, the laundry created can slower than regular or more vigorous be overwhelming and space to dry it, with or cycles, or that supersize capacities can without an outdoor area, is often at a premium.” be very water-hungry and costly to run Hotpoint’s Darren Peake adds that drying if there is not a genuine requirement laundry on hangers or clothes horses can also for the additional capacity. Washing machines cause problems with indoor damp, so tumble with a 6-7kg capacity are actually more than drying can often offer the best solution. sufficient for the washing requirements of an average sized home, with larger models only really Two can live as “Haier has made the needed for especially big cheaply as one? decision to sell only LED TVs families.” Another remarkable in Europe as this technology As it happens, the revelation in this analysis consumes 40% less energy. Powering the Nation of energy use in UK Our TVs also have a study identified that homes is that single‘total power off’ function, 64% of washes were full person households – over allowing consumers to turn loads and 16% half loads. 29% of all UK households their device off completely Amongst the remaining – use as much, and numbers, there were sometimes more, energy rather than it continuing to some instances of single than the typical family consume electricity when garments being washed, unit both for laundry and not in use” although these were cooking. And while there Richard Popple, National Sales Manager reported to have been is obviously a relative – Consumer Electronics, Haier UK relatively rare. efficiency in cooking for What does come as a larger groups, it beggars surprise, though, is that [in households with a belief that a 3-4 person household consumes tumble dryer] 80% of washes are followed by a roughly the same amount of energy through tumble drying cycle, yet those with adequate cooking activities as a single person. outdoor space to dry laundry in warmer, drier But Baumatic’s Balestrazzi reasons that weather were failing to utilise this ‘free of singletons tend to have less time to spend on charge’ facility. food preparation, the result of which is energy Amica’s Freear tells GC that he’s heard a wasted. “No care is taken to calculate how number of reasons why tumble dryers have much food is required or even the exact time become a more preferable method of drying or temperature needed. Therefore, too much laundry items: 1) It is more convenient to shove food is often cooked, and much of it cannot be everything in the dryer and press a button; 2) reheated because dishes are overcooked in a bid Tumble dryers produce much softer results than to save time.” line drying – especially for towels and linen; Hotpoint’s Peake, however, has reservations: 3) The washing line and pegs spoil the look of “We would question whether a single-person the garden. “And the best one,” says Freear, “is household would use the same amount of people forgetting to bring in the washing and it energy as a 3 to 4 person household, as their accumulating ‘line spiders’ overnight.” cooking habits could be quite different,” he But despite the average number of tumble says. “Cooking family meals once or twice a day drying cycles estimated at approximately would use more energy than a single person 260 per year, there is plenty of support for cooking smaller meals.” the presence of such products in UK homes. Cooking is an area in which consumers Baumatic’s Balestrazzi says: “We could argue really do need retailers’ guidance to help them that the introduction of the tumble dryer has make the right choices. It is a highly developed


THE ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

A “GREEN SWEEP” FOR LEC Refrigeration specialist Lec, which this year celebrates its 70th birthday, has had its entire appliance range rigorously tested and evaluated by the Energy Saving Trust and has obtained EST Recommended approval for all products. Leading the way in the production of energy-saving appliances, Lec’s cooling range has undergone hours of testing against strict Energy Saving Trust Recommended criteria set by an independent panel. Products have been judged to be amongst some of the most energy efficient on the market, with reduced carbon emissions and reduced running costs for consumers. Lec products can now be found on the Energy Saving Trust website – created for consumers in search of the most energyefficient products in their class – and will be labelled with the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo to enable consumers to make greener choices. www.lec.co.uk

market, incorporating an often confusing selection of appliance types, cavity sizes and hob configurations. And to the benefit of all, never has there been such a broad, diverse and inspiring collection of complementary and alternative options to choose from. For the single-person household, Joan Fraser, Product Development and Training Manager for Smeg (UK), suggests “a compact combination for maximum flexibility and convenience, steam for speedy, efficient and healthy cooking, completed with an induction hob, possibly a 2-zone if the householder doesn’t entertain a lot.”

Balestrazzi also advocates steering singletons towards compact appliances and adds that many products tackle energy wastage by offering a number of preset recipes. “This enables users to set exactly the right cooking time, temperature and conditions required for a selected dish.” She also notes that, as well as reducing energy consumption through the use of smaller cavities, further energy savings can be made by choosing “multi-purpose” products. “Compact Combination Steam Ovens, for example, not only offer regular cooking, grilling and steaming programmes, but also specialist

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food

functions for semi-professional baking and for cooking frozen food or reheating.” Combination appliances also save space in the kitchen and offer great value for money, too, due to their 2(or more)-in-one cooking facility.

Postscript courtesy of Les Wicks, Head of Product and Buying at Beko Plc: “UK consumers’ attitudes to energy consumption are for the most part rational rather than emotional and the drive towards more energy efficient products lags behind others in Europe. But with the cost of energy bills escalating quickly in Britain, the clear financial benefits of Eco technologies are encouraging sales of the more efficient appliances. “The market for green products has shown considerable growth in recent years, as more models have become available at reasonable prices and consumers have greater access to information detailing the benefits. Features such as sensor drying in tumble dryers not only prevent fabrics from damage due to over drying, but reduce unnecessary energy usage as the programme stops automatically when items reach the required level of dryness. Washing machines often have quick load or half load options, again reducing energy consumption. Frost free cooling means that freezers no longer suffer from the buildup of ice that causes them to run less efficiently. And many ovens are now A-rated (or better), ensuring that less electricity is consumed. “These improvements are reflected in GfK results which, for example, showed the increase in sales of A++ (and above) washing machines in 2011 to be 5.6 times greater than that recorded in 2009. “Given that there is tangible consumer demand for eco appliances, it is now down to manufacturers and retailers to give consumers the products and information they need to help them save money and the environment.”

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THE KNOWLEDGE: HUMAX

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We explain everything you need to know about the new digital tv service Headed up by Lord Sugar and backed by some of Britain’s leading names in TV such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Arqiva, the YouView service is here to stay. This, combined with the reputation and credibility of the Humax brand, means the DTR-T1000 is standing amongst some of the biggest names in television.

MyView MyView is one of YouView’s most compelling attributes, as it provides an easy way to manage a wealth of recordings. This nifty setting allows all viewed and unviewed recorded programmes to be displayed in one digestible format, splitting the screen for ease of viewing if there are multiple recordings saved.

Unique 7-Day scroll-back EPG

What is YouView? YouView is the brand new, subscription-free digital TV and catch-up service, currently available exclusively on the Humax DTR-T1000. The service combines over 100 digital TV and radio channels with internet catch-up and video on-demand services, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5. The Humax DTR-T1000 is the consumer’s gateway to YouView’s extensive range of content, with the ability to move effortlessly between live SD and HD digital channels and internet content. This wide-ranging service also offers – for the very first time – a unique electronic programme guide (EPG) that enables backward scrolling for reviewing catch-up 30

GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

and forward scrolling for future programme information, spanning up to seven days either way. Additional downloads post launch now include Sky NOW TV, introducing even more features including high quality film downloads, ensuring the DTR-T1000 becomes the ‘must have’ product of the year.

The 7-day electronic programme guide is a ‘first’ amongst EPGs. It has been designed so that users can catch up on the latest TV programmes at the touch of a button. Viewers can search for programmes or channels from the past week, within the same TV guide menu used for selecting live TV. A 15-day electronic programme guide accommodates scrolling backwards and forwards through digital TV and catch-up content. Thumbnail previews of the channel the user is currently watching mean there is no need to miss out on any programmes while browsing for on-demand content..


THE KNOWLEDGE: HUMAX

The Humax DTR-T1000 offers a host of YouView features to transform the TV viewing experience, alongside a breadth of hardware specialities which include:  A gloss black finish portraying a modern, yet minimalist, appearance  Remote control with dedicated YouView button revealing a small menu bar, plus shortcuts direct to the EPG or Search facilities  A large 500GB hard drive – big enough to store up to 300 hours of standard definition and 125 hours of HD programmes, with a 1TB version expected later this year  The ability to connect the DTR-T1000 to a broadband router, making all the internetenabled services available through the same on-screen interface

HUMAX YOUVIEW DTRT1000

Selling YouView

THE RETAIL OPPORTUNITY The arrival of the Humax DTR-T1000 provides UK retailers with an exciting opportunity to take the YouView proposition to a mainstream audience. By focusing on increasing consumer demand for content and simplicity of use, retailers can use the features of the Humax DTR-T1000 to boost sales and profit margins.

Almost everything your customer needs to set up the YouView service is available in one box, ready to set up and go. Some people may need the optional power lines in order to connect to the router, but with no additional subscription fees, users can enjoy everything the service has to off straight away.

1. Great recording capabilities The Humax DTR-T1000 offers useful recording features such as split recording, green button trailer booking and series linking. Current features allow users to watch one programme while recording another and it is also possible to record two programmes at the same time while watching a third from Catch Up, On Demand or MyView. Any recording clashes are highlighted and suggestions provided to resolve them.

2. Precise On Demand searches Discover at a glance which On Demand programmes have just been added, with specific search criteria including programmes that have been ranked as the most popular. Or, if users are simply looking for a bit of inspiration or want to see what else is available, they can browse by genre instead. There are multiple choices available at the touch of a button.

3. Subscription free With no ongoing monthly subscription, the DTR-T1000 can be sold ‘off-the-shelf’ with no additional payments to worry about. In the current economic environment, this money-saving product is enticing, and its subscription-free service sets it apart from cable and satellite offerings.

More information online: www.humaxdigital.com/uk/youview Or email the Humax team direct: humax@emlwildfire.com SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

31


GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED

George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics.

PATENTLY ABSURD? T

en years ago, BT claimed to own a major feature of the world wide web. The telecoms giant was sifting through thousands of its patents when it stumbled across an old patent that seemingly covered the hyperlink system used by all web pages. Hyperlinks are the highlighted links you click to access another page or website. If BT really did own the hyperlink patent, then the company could reap billions in royalties by licensing the technology to anyone using hyperlinks on a webpage. Fortunately, a court saw sense and threw out BT’s absurd claim. Fast forward ten years, and Apple has just won a patent case in the US against Samsung, claiming that the Korean company has breached a number of patents related to the iPhone. A Californian jury agreed and awarded Apple $1 billion (£660 million) in damages. Samsung plans to appeal. And Apple isn’t finished yet, because it wants the courts to ban the sale of eight Samsung smartphones in the US, which, Apple alleges, breach its patents. The patents Samsung is said to have

breached include using a smartphone design with a large rectangular screen and round edges, and “pinching” a screen to zoom in on an object. The ruling has puzzled many observers, not least the idea that Apple owns the basic smartphone design form factor (a claim, incidentally, rejected by courts in Japan and South Korea). It’s rather like a motor company claiming to hold the patent for the steering wheel/gear stick/three-pedal design used by most cars.

organisation, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) wants a radical overhaul of the software patents system, which currently provides twenty years protection from the initial application. The EFF wants to see the protection period reduced to five years and any damages awarded for patent breaches to be severely limited. Patents mean money, and often lots of it. JVC owned the patents for its VHS system and reaped the rewards for years. Sony and Philips held the key patents for the CD format and took a royalty on every CD player produced and every CD disc pressed. The reason why formats such as DVD and Blu-ray were developed by a consortium of companies is because they involve so many patents that companies have to band together and pool patents – and they all get a slice of the revenues. No one would deny that drugs companies, for example, have the right to patent drugs that have taken years of research and millions of pounds in development costs, but some of the latest patent lawsuits leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

Patents mean money, and often lots of it. ” It’s ironic because Apple’s co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, heartily approved of Picasso’s maxim: “Good artists copy, great artists steal,” and Apple’s Macintosh computer used features developed by the Xerox Corporation, such as a mouse and icons. Sadly, patents that were once used to protect genuine innovation, and give inventors an opportunity to reap the benefits of their hard work and imagination, are now often seen as an easy cash cow. The digital rights

4K ON THE WAY The 4k bandwagon recently gained some momentum. 4k is the next step beyond HD, offering four times more picture information (3840 x 2160 pixels, compared with 1920 x 1080 for Full HD). Toshiba was first off the blocks with a 55inch 4k set, and at this year’s IFA Show, LG and Sony announced plans for launching 84-inch 4k sets this year. Panasonic had a 20-inch 4K set, as well as a whopping 145-inch 8k set. 8k is the standard set by the Japanese broadcaster NHK, which offers 7680 x 4320 resolution; sixteen times greater than Full HD. The 8k standard, also known as Super Hi Vision, has been ratified by the International Tel-

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GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

ecommunication Union, and so is now a world standard. NHK plans to launch an 8k service in 2020. Meanwhile, the first 4k sets aren’t cheap, but a bigger challenge will be finding content that can take advantage of their greatly increased resolution. That’s why many 4k sets will include upscaling technology that boosts existing HD images. The upscaling technology used by DVD players shows that this technology can produce impressive results, but buyers of 4k televisions will be looking for genuine 4k picture sources, and there’s no early sign of this.

E-mail: georgecole@gcmagazine.co.uk


FROM THE BENCH

E-mail: fromthebench@gcmagazine.co.uk

The low-down on soundbars There’s a lot to know about soundbars and their hook-up, writes Alan Bennett

T

he market potential for TV soundbars is huge at present. This musthave accessory is an excellent sales line, but it calls for special knowledge.

As TVs and their edge-bezels get thinner, their speakers become skinnier likewise, and necessarily face backwards, towards the wall or the curtains. This makes for poor sound, even with carefully designed circuits and loudspeakers. With screens growing in size, the disparity between the picture and the sound’s stage and quality becomes ever greater. No solution can be provided within the TV, so external speakers are really essential, and their simplest form is a soundbar, an array of speakers which can be placed on the wall behind the screen or on the stand in front of it. Soundbars come in a wide range of types from simple to sophisticated at prices ranging from £70 to over £1000. Basically they are mains-powered stereo or multichannel amplifier/speaker sets which take an audio feed, in analogue or digital form, from the TV.

achieve a similar effect by electronic means, emphasising the difference between L and R signals. The most sophisticated – hence expensive – soundbars claim to simulate 5.1, even 7.1 surround-sound fields, achieving this by directional drivers to bounce sound off the sides of the listening room (hard smooth walls work best with this) and by phase/timing variations in the speaker’s electrical drive. It doesn’t really surround you with sound, and cannot approach the performance of a proper distributed-loudspeaker outfit, though the most expensive have an interesting effect. 3D sound-effect processing may be by Dolby Virtual or various proprietary systems. Some soundbars offer DSP modes, e.g. music, movies, etc. A minimum of control and indication of the soundbar is required; typically they automatically shut down in the absence of a drive signal. Some come without a remote control, intended to be programmed for use with the TV’s zapper, but this can be somewhat fiddly, and may involve disabling the TV’s loudspeakers.

Features

Hook-up

The simplest soundbars equate to a conjoined pair of active external loudspeakers, perhaps with a modest subwoofer, connected to the TV by analogue cables or a digital coupling: co-ax or optical S/PDIF, aka TOSLINK. Some come in the form of a plinth, with integral subwoofer, on which the TV sits. A 2.1 configuration is the most common, and as you go up the price scale separate subwoofers become the norm, often wireless (2.4 or 5.8GHz band) so that they require only a mains connection; their sound is not directional so placement is not critical. Some soundbars, called transformers, (Panasonic, Samsung) can be split into two to widen their soundstage, while others

The simplest and most common connection to the TV is by analogue twin-phono, co-ax digital or optical digital (S/PDIF/TOSLINK) connectors, whereby the sound from whatever programme the screen is displaying is reproduced from the bar. Some more expensive soundbars have HDMI loopthrough, with up to four inputs and one output to the TV. Here the bar processes and presents the digital sound in the passing HDMI signal, and acts as a selector for the high-definition signals. It is important to understand, however, that 3D vision will not necessarily pass through - see individual specifications. Except for latemodel TVs and soundbars specified for ARC (Audio Return Channel) the TV’s HDMI port

Soundbar scenario

YAMAHA PIONEERED SOUNDBARS

is strictly an input-only device so that for instance the TV’s internal satellite or Freeview tuner can only feed the soundbar by one of the other audio links mentioned above. In practice it is cheaper and simpler to connect all the peripheral boxes to the screen with their own HDMI cables where the screen permits, and wire the latter to the soundbar via a single digital link, co-axial or optical; any user who requires the luxury of Blu-ray’s Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio formats, only conveyed in HDMI links, is probably better served by a pukka 7.1 separates outfit. Some soundbars in the medium and higher price ranges can link to devices other than TVs. There might be a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack socket for connection to a personal stereo or iPod, and/or a Bluetooth feature for streaming from a portable device or a PC. Also incorporated in some soundbars is a USB port.

Drawbacks You don’t want to see soundbars coming back through the door post-sales, so it’s useful to know about some potential problems that can arise! Buyers need to realise that surround models don’t provide true surround sound, but will generally widen the soundstage at least. I have found, too, that where they exist at all in meaningful form the quoted power output ratings – even by reputable manufacturers – can be somewhat optimistic, to say the least, and in some cases are a bit like the ridiculous PMOP (Peak Music Output Power) figures quoted for computer speaker add-ons. The lack of a remote control can be a handicap, while some soundbars, sitting on the TV stand, can block the TV’s own remote control operation. The Yamaha YAS101 has an IR repeater to prevent this. SEP 2012 GET CONNECTED

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BACKCHAT

What would you put into Room 101? Lots of things. But at the moment it would have to be pole and glass oil rig TV furniture

What’s your greatest achievement?

2-minute interview · He has a powerful penchant for design, is a family man and comes across as “a likeable chap,” but one of his aspirational film roles, plus a fixation with tassels, indicate there may be a whole other dimension to this character. He’s Oliver Mitchell, director of AV furniture company Off The Wall UK Ltd.

Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry?

How do you think others see you?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. it came from working as a furniture and product designer

What’s your pet hate?

Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? I’d like to spend more time working more directly with brands like Samsung, Panasonic and Sony, developing product with and for them from the outset

What makes you laugh? Apart from various comedians it really has to be my three daughters. They really crack me up

What was the greatest turning point in your life? I suppose it would be having the courage to start my own business

People not giving you the smallest of their time to listen, and more importantly look at what you do and have to say. People who can’t consider a different point of view

Start a design consultancy, or with any luck be an astronaut

Favourite TV programme? Top Gear, Grand Designs, Late Review, Dr Who or Worzel Gummidge box set with the kids

Favourite cuisine?

What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told?

Oriental

I have never been any good at telling lies so I don’t do it. The only thing I might be guilty of is embellishing a few stories here and there for humorous effect

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice. What character would you like to play?

How would you describe yourself? Hopefully a likeable chap who is not too bad at designing and making things. Serious when I need to be but also likes a laugh GET CONNECTED SEP 2012

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” Benjamin Franklin I’m told?

Name your poison Real Ale and Wheat Beer

What do you daydream about? Lots of different designs I should be getting off the page into reality

Favourite holiday destination? What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?

If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do?

BANG!

It would have to be design-related and be someone like Ettore Sottsass, Carlo Molino, Marcel Breuer or even Ferdinand Porsche. I really admire their philosophy and work, and just wish I could achieve even a fraction of the same some day. They created mass produced products and styles which have affected us all in our lives

Favourite quote?

Greek Islands

When I have the chance it’s old VWs, mountain bikes, scooters, playing and listening to music

What historic figure do you identify with most?

A real mixed bag of the weird and wonderful, from the Art of Noise to Zeppelin. At the moment it’s Bombay Bicycle Club, Here We Go Magic, Hot Chip and Tom Waits, to name but a few

Far too many to mention

What surprises you?

Not doing some of the things I have done already a lot earlier in my life

What sort of music do you like?

Any bad habits?

Hobbies?

What’s your greatest regret?

34

Hopefully the same

Putting well-designed good quality furniture into people’s homes

Ron Jeremy’s understudy (you really shouldn’t know what that means!) Otherwise Obi Wan Kenobi. Imagine what you could get sorted with Jedi powers

You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make? After the obvious stopping of war and famine, it would have to be this recession

Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change?

Losing parents and a close friend far too soon

What’s the best kind of punishment…. Paranoia

…and who deserves it? The paranoid

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Hopefully with us being the leading brand with a lot more product under our belt, in preferably a better economic climate. Also doing other types of products and taking on additional design projects for people. Or, of course, being in space

What’s your greatest fear? On a dark note, it would have to be losing one’s bodily abilities. On a lighter note, it would have to be either zombies or having to sit through a Justin Bieber gig with my girls. Nightmare!

Whom do you most admire? It would have to be designers like Ross Lovegrove, Karim Rashid and Philippe Stark as they have got to where they want to be and are visually inspirational. Oh, and also Tony Stark, if you know who he is

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

Far too much to mention

Got to be my VW 1968 Karmann Ghia or Westy camper van

Any hidden talents?

What motto do you live by?

I can wheelie on a penny farthing

Any particular fetishes? Tassels – say no more!

I should quote Mies van der Rohe here with the old “less is more.” but I’ll go with “Do or do not , there is no try” (Yoda from Star Wars). 


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Get Connected Magazine - September 2012  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry