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JUNE 2015


COOLING We have the technology. Now let’s stop throwing away millions of tonnes of fresh produce

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CUSTOM INSTALL The expansion of the home network: connectivity, demand, capacity and the Internet of Things

GEORGE COLE Doubt about the future of Blu-ray and DVD disc formats. 4K broadcasts: better to wait and do it well, says one commentator

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Cooling Feature


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Food preservation: consumers need to know more about cooling technology if the mass of household food waste produced in the UK is to be reduced

Home networks of the future: It’s all about smart connectivity

George Cole Gets Connected

Is it bye-bye for Blu-ray? George Cole reports from the IFA Global Press Conference

From the Bench Alan Bennett examines the effect of aspect ratios

retra Conference 2015 Electrical retailing: facing an uncertain future





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accepted, understood, studied he General Election at and used as a retail tool along least produced a clearwith all the other skills and cut result. It’s a change practices in the independents’ from the constraints armoury. Understanding of coalition, although how customers use Google, just how it will affect YouTube and social media as a our business, or the natural part of the buying economy in general, is process – even when not altogether clear. they go into a bricksWe mention it only and-mortar outlet to because it seems that make the final purchase, we were absolutely spot is clearly a key to survival on with our prediction “There is evidently for electrical retailers. for the outcome in a place for onlineProduct knowledge, last month’s editorial sales skills and comment. only retailers in our people skills remain The inexorable industry (although how important, but the march of change profitable they can big question now is: was also evident make it is still in “How can the best at this year’s retra sales staff in the world Annual Conference (see question.)“ be effective face-to-face page 26 of this issue.) if they rarely get the chance Bryan Lovewell, retra CEO, for face-to-face interaction?” who has been instrumental In short, for independents’ in so much of the change that traditional skills to be effective, they have retra has undergone as it adjusts to the to be seen. How do independents – or any changing pressures on its membership, has retailers for that matter – ensure that they now retired. He took up the post in 2007, get the chance to show what they can do? and so has headed up retra for the entire How does a retailer use, rather than fight period of recession that has accelerated against, the consumer’s obvious taste for profound changes in the electrical retail researching and shopping online? landscape, not least for independent There is evidently a place for onlineretailers. Mr Lovewell was in charge during only retailers in our industry (although a period probably unprecedented in the how profitable they can make it is still in history of the organisation. A period that question.) But the smart money seems to demanded special qualities of leadership, be on the “combi” retail model: one that resourcefulness and adaptability. It is has a bricks-and-mortar presence with unfortunate that he was not able to attend all the benefits that brings, but is also the final retra Conference of his tenure, to expert at the art of finding, engaging and accept in person the appreciation of the convincing customers in the infinite world of membership. Howard Saycell, his successor, cyberspace. has some shoes to fill, and we wish him every success. The Conference, a focused and businesslike affair with the emphasis on practical, usable ideas for the future, delivered a suitably varied and lively programme. It was encouraging to see that the internet – seen as the evil enemy of independents for so long – is now being 4


Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Database independently audited by Firgrove Consultancy. Average net 10 issues: 5,927 Mar 2012 – Feb 2013

“One of the best vacuums we’ve ever tested”. Winner of Which? Best Buy Vacuum Cleaners January 2015.

Plenty of vacuums claim to handle pet hairs. But Which? only picked one as its favourite for our furry friends. Thanks to its ability to remove pet hair, fine dust and help reduce animal odours. Refer to your Business Development Manager for more details. £30 cashback available on the Complete C3 Cat & Dog PowerLine. Valid from 18th June – 15th July 2015. For full terms and conditions and details on how to claim speak to your Business Development Manager.






onsumer confidence fell sharply in May, with a survey suggesting it may have been hit by the election of the Conservative government. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index fell three points to 1, with all five measures used to calculate the Index declining. The research firm said almost all of the fieldwork for the May survey was carried out after the election. Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK, said: “In the short term, this suggests that despite rewarding them with a majority in the House of Commons, the public are not too

confident about economic life under the Conservatives. “In the longer term, we seem to be in another of the periods of stasis that the Index goes through from time to time. Of the last 13 months, the Index has been within two points either side of 0 on all but three of them.” The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months decreased four points to 3, while the Index measuring the general economic situation over the same period fell by six points to zero and is now 12 points lower than in May 2014. “Given that the Index as a whole is one point higher than last May

“Given that the Index as a whole is one point higher than last May this is a worrying figure...”

this is a worrying figure,” said Moon. The climate for major purchases fell four points to 2, although the figure remains five points higher than at this time last year.



World reported a Group operating loss of £2.2 million for its financial year ended 31 March 2015 on revenues of £476.7 million, up 23.8% on the previous year. The company had issued a warning in February this year, stating that profits for the financial year would be below expectations. The growth it had expected during the final quarter of the year was impacted by the extra IPO publicity the business received during the same period in the previous year. AO World floated in February 2014 with a market value of £1.2 billion – way beyond analysts’ expectations.



AO website sales in the UK grew 32.9% to £381.5 million during the year to 31 March, but the company reported an 11.4% drop in third party website revenues. Commenting on the results, CEO John Roberts said: “Our long-term plan is on track and despite missing our financial expectations for the year, we have continued to take market share in the UK MDA market.” Roberts added that he was “very pleased” with the achievements made over the year, particularly in Germany, where the company launched in October 2014, and with the successful introduction of the AV category to




nseasonable weather and low food prices left like-for-like retail sales flat during May. According to the BRC, like-for-like sales were unchanged from a year ago but total sales were up 1.1% as a buoyant housing market helped lift sales of furniture and homewares. David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “With Easter distortions behind us, May’s retail sales figures were disappointingly flat.” Looking ahead, he added that June may prove to be a tough month of comparables for some, as the start of the 2014 World Cup in the same month last year boosted sales in certain areas. Online sales of non-food products rose 9.9% in May versus a year earlier and contributed 1.4 percentage points to the growth of total nonfood sales during the month. Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said online sales contributed more to non-food growth over the last 12 months than bricks & mortar stores. Growth in May was boosted by bigticket items such as furniture and domestic appliances.



ixons Carphone has said that pretax profit is expected to exceed the top end of expectations after Group like-for-like sales increased 9% in the fourth quarter. Revenues in the UK & Ireland rose 13%, while sales in the Nordics and Southern Europe increased 1% and 8% respectively. As a result, the company said Group pro forma headline profit before tax is expected to be slightly above the top end of the previously guided range of £355 million to £375 million.





apan’s Sharp Corporation announced a ¥200 billion ($1.7 billion) bailout from banks after reporting a net loss for the financial year ended 31 March 2015. The company said it will also enter into further restructuring that will include cutting 10% of its global workforce including 3,500 jobs in Japan. Sharp posted a net loss of ¥222.3 billion for the period, ¥192.3 billion more

than forecast, on sales of ¥2786.2 billion. Operating income fell to a negative ¥48 billion from a positive ¥108.5 in FY2013. The company attributed the losses to a number of factors including the deterioration of its LCD TV business in the US and price pressure in its smartphone display business. The bailout is the second major rescue for the company in three years.



istributor of IT, communication & home entertainment products Exertis has acquired Computers Unlimited, a specialist distributor of products and accessories for Apple, the digital home, and creative professionals. Computers Unlimited supplies a wide range of third party branded software, IT hardware and consumer electronics products to over 2,000 partners throughout the UK and Continental Europe. The business employs 200 people and operates from offices in London, Paris and Barcelona. Niall Ennis, Group Managing Director at Exertis, said: “We are excited at the prospect of extending the reach of

Computers Unlimited to the multiple retail channels that Exertis supports both in the UK and in France. This acquisition also extends the Exertis footprint into the Spanish retail sector, where Computers Unlimited has a growing presence. “Likewise, we see significant opportunities to expand the reach of the brands currently working with Computers Unlimited into the Exertis operations in the Nordics and the Middle East.” Ennis confirmed that everything is very much business as usual and that Computers Unlimited will continue operating under its own distinct brand identity.

EIB BACKS ELECTROLUX IN DEVELOPMENT ENERGY-EFFICIENT APPLIANCES The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a €150 million loan to AB Electrolux for the development of better performing MDA and SDA goods that are more energy efficient and more user-friendly. The EIB said this latest project is a continuation of its successful co-operation with Electrolux. Including the current operation, the organisation has provided four loans to Electrolux, making the company’s financing more cost efficient

and extending the maturity profile of its debt. The loan will enable Electrolux to develop innovative household goods that consume less electricity and use fewer resources, such as raw materials in production or water during operation. The research activities also aim to increase the use of recycled materials in the production of kitchen and laundry products, which will also have improved end-oflife recyclability.

Jonathan Taylor, EIB VicePresident responsible for lending in Sweden, said: “Projects such as this strengthen the competitiveness of European companies, thus enhancing Europe’s position as a major technology supplier and supporting skilled employment opportunities.” Electrolux’s research, development and innovation activities will be carried out mainly in Sweden, Italy and Germany.


remium American appliance brand Viking is now available from Middleby UK, the wholly owned subsidiary of The Middleby Corporation, Illinois. The Middleby Corporation, which is listed among the top 100 on the New York NASDAQ, purchased the Viking brand along with all manufacturing, sales and marketing infrastructure in 2013. Following a period of restructuring and investment, which included a brand new 50,000 sq ft UK headquarters in Goldborne, Wigan, the company is to re-launch Viking to specialist retailers and interior designers. Stephen Stroud, who has been heading up the residential sales division since January 2014, said: “We’ve been working away in the background for almost 12 months to ensure that Viking customers get the service the brand demands. “We have taken over all legacy servicing and taken a good hard look at the entire range in the UK. It’s important to make clear we are not just distributing the range, Middleby Corporation owns Viking, which means it will receive the investment it needs to enable it to reach its potential.” Managing Director of Middleby UK Adrian Wood added that a brand new 10,000 sq ft dedicated Viking showroom will be unveiled during the early summer months. “It will take pride of place alongside all our other brands and be an inspiring destination showroom for consumers used to an extraordinary buying experience,” he said.


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reeview has passed the 100 million mark for the number of DTT TVs and boxes sold since the service’s launch in 2002. The 107 million total includes all televisions, set-top boxes and DVD and Blu-ray devices with an inbuilt Freeview DVB-T SD or HD tuner, whether Freeview branded or not, and are based on GfK figures. The news comes ahead of the launch of Freeview Play, the subscription-free connected TV service that combines catch-up and on-demand services with live TV. Freeview has said that the service will launch later this year.



i-fi manufacturer and record label Linn has announced it is to end production of all standalone pre-amps, stating that it will help existing and new customers make the transition from old to new technology with a special promotion offering 10% off the cost of any Linn DSM for consumers trading in a preamp from Linn or any other manufacturer, from now until 14th August. Commenting on the decision, Linn Managing Director Gilad Tiefenbrun, said: “People told us we were crazy when we stopped making CD players but it was simply a reflection of Linn’s development of a superior technology together with changes to how people were consuming music. But, just as the DS offered better

performance and flexibility than the CD player, the DSM now outperforms any pre-amplifier while offering so much more functionality.” Linn predicted the demise of the CD player in 2009 and was also one of the first companies to recognise the potential impact of digital streaming when it introduced its DS product line and created its online music store to allow the first encryption-free downloads of 24-bit Studio Masterquality recordings in 2007. The company signalled the beginning of the end for the pre-amp in 2011 when it integrated the networked music capabilities of DS with pre-amp functionality in a single product, the DSM.



ubscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has announced a positive start to 2015, with strong take-up of its Freetime connected TV service. 12,000 new homes were added during the first quarter of 2015, bringing the total number of Freesat households to 1.9 million and the service’s viewing audience up to four million per week.


for the stories behind the news...

 Digital listening nears 40%  EU report highlights UK’s poor

product recall record

 Electrolux backs smart energy

housing project

 Winners of AEG Grand

Designs #AEGMoments competition announced



Freetime gained twice the number of new customers in Q1 2015 compared with the same period in 2014 and now accounts for 50% of all Freesat set-top box sales for the fourth consecutive quarter. The company said growth has been driven by a user-friendly offering, which is continuously evolving and expanding through new channel launches and industry-leading product development.



harp Home Appliances has officially launched in Europe, promising to deliver “unprecedented” after-sales care throughout the lifespan of its products. The company said it will work in partnership with its brand licensing partner Vestel to offer a comprehensive range of cooling, laundry, dishwashing and cooking appliances, which will include built-in, freestanding and smart models, and microwave ovens, a category in which the brand is well established having sold over 100 million units since the launch of its first model in 1962. UK Sales and Marketing Director of Sharp Home Appliances Andy Warren said the company “passionately” believes it can change the white goods industry. “Founded upon the promise of delivering real support for the lives of all our customers, we will provide more than just a range of end products, giving the buying public the chance to invest in a lifelong home appliance service which they can actively help to mould and develop,” he commented.

In the coming months, the brand will unveil a “Life Support Service” which promises to provide a greater standard of product support and after-sales care throughout the lifetime of its appliances. “No product guarantee is ever as reassuring as a genuine long-term commitment from the manufacturer,” the company said. The brand is to work towards achieving a more personal relationship with its customers, operating across a wider variety of communication channels to ensure it is approachable and easy to reach. In 2014, Vestel strengthened its consumer brand proposition with a “made-to-measure, multichannel after-sales service” to deliver fast and efficient customer care for its Finlux and Servis brands. At the time of launch, Vestel said the multiple-platform operation would enable consumers to choose their preferred method of interaction, whether that be via telephone, text or social media channels.


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DHA brand Stoves has teamed up with Shropshire-based Brompton Cookery School to update its custom-built kitchen classroom. Brompton Cookery School is set on a National Trust property near Shrewsbury and offers a wide range of cooking classes for adults and children. It is led by TV chef Marcus Bean and wife Jenny. Stoves has provided the establishment with nine of its Sterling 900Ei range cookers in a modern stainless steel finish. The models were chosen by the Brompton team as they provide plenty of cooking space across three cavities and the induction hobs allow for safer, faster and greener stovetop cooking.



ichelin-starred chef John Campbell has chosen to fit his new state-of-the-art cookery school with Gorenje’s latest range of appliances. Gorenje has supplied 43 appliances in all to The Woodspeen Cookery School, which is a joint venture between Campbell and BaxterStorey, the UK’s leading independent food and hospitality business. The school is set in a historic farm building in West Berkshire adjacent to The Woodspeen Restaurant, which opened in October last year. The products supplied by Gorenje are from the brand’s built-in collection Gorenje+, a range created exclusively for UK high street retailers. Campbell said he was “very impressed” with the Gorenje+ range. “The appliances look great and provide us with all the must-have features we need to deliver the best cookery courses possible,” he added.



ritannia Living has opened its second showroom in the UK, following the launch of its flagship showroom which opened in January at the company’s head office in Stoke-on-Trent. The new showroom is based in the Surrey town of Chertsey and displays the latest innovations from the three Britannia Living brands: Britannia, Bertazzoni and Best. “With the excellent feedback received from our customers and the success of our Stokeon-Trent showroom, we felt that opening an additional showroom in Chertsey, around the M25, was a natural next step in expansion,” said Michael Haigh, marketing manager at Britannia Living.




Moves Jon Atherton has joined B2B, retail and mobile distributor Exertis as Commercial Development Director, based at the company’s Basingstoke office.

David Thacker

Jon Atherton

David Thacker has joined Aga Rangemaster as Marketing Manager for Rangemaster, Falcon and Mercury cooking and Leisure sinks.

AV furniture and accessories producer Sanus is reorganising its sales division to drive further opportunities for growth and has appointed Dean Carroll to the position of regional sales manager to help focus on the UK market.

Dean Carroll

Meridian has added three new members to its sales team with the appointment of Barry Sheldrick as Director of Sales (centre), Matthew Delaney to the role of UK and Eire Sales Manager (right) and Matt Holland as Business Relationship Manager (left). CIE-Group has appointed Neil Mattock to the position of AV Account Manager for the Midlands and South West of England. He is the latest AV professional to join the team as part of the company’s technical and customer support expansion programme.

Neil Mattock

InSinkErator® has appointed two new members to its UK marketing team to support retailers with increased marketing materials and activity. Brian Green has joined as Product Planner for Europe and Russia, and Christopher Vella-Bone joins as Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Manager for Europe and Russia.



CANDY CELEBRATES 70TH ANNIVERSARY MDA manufacturer Candy marked its 70th anniversary with a number of celebrations at its Italian headquarters and is to launch some “revolutionary” new products in 2015. The Candy Group was founded in 1945 by the late Italian entrepreneur Peppino Fumagalli and brothers Niso and Enzo and now employs around 5,300 people. It has seven

manufacturing sites in Europe, Turkey and China, 45 subsidiaries and representative offices across the globe. Throughout its 70-year history the Group has acquired brands such as Hoover, Rosieres and, most recently, Baumatic.

 SHORTCUTS Electrolux has launched a ‘Simple Switch’ campaign as part of its Premier Partner Programme. The initiative has been created to support and guide independent kitchen studio businesses into a smooth and “lucrative” transition to the AEG, Electrolux and Zanussi brands Whirlpool and Westfield have entered into a yearlong partnership to launch the ‘Main Ingredient’, a series of live cooking demonstrations at Westfield Stratford City’s Great Eastern Kitchen. Beko is aiming to capture the attention of football fans worldwide with the launch of a competition that will offer 22 fans the chance to play a match at Camp Nou, home to FC Barcelona. The prize includes an all expenses paid three-day trip to Barcelona. Amica has introduced a new suite of marketing materials including a new 96-page full-colour printed brochure and a brochure app. The “Intelligent Style” brochure includes details of Amica’s brand new freestanding double ovens, compact built-in ovens and warming drawers, and new ranges of hobs in induction and gas-on-glass formats. Appliance specialist Caple has released a new summer edition of its recipe book entitled The Chef. The publication features recipes devised by celebrity chef and brand ambassador Josh Eggleton plus some “exciting” new editorial features.

Maurizio Severgnini, managing director of Candy’s built-in division in the UK, said: “Candy is a company with an extraordinary history. 70 years ago Peppino and his brothers were working to develop the very first Italian washing machine and today The

Candy Group is renowned for creating innovative appliances across the world. “The success of The Candy Group is reflective of the talented people it employs as well as its ongoing commitment to creating innovative appliances that make consumers’ lives easier.” Severgnini added that 2015 is set to be an exciting year for The Candy Group. The launch of the new products is “a very fitting way to mark this special year,” he said.



ama UK has announced that the winner of a Marshall Stanmore speaker, which it offered as a prize at this year’s Euronics Showcase to entice potential customers on to its stand, is J.W Garnett Home Electricals ( located in Settle, Yorkshire.

The 2015 event, which took place at Birmingham’s NEC 26th and 27th April, was the first Euronics Showcase for Hama UK. Entry into the Marshall Stanmore draw was free for all visitors that registered their business card at the Hama UK stand.



he long-established Swan brand is realigning its electricals and housewares output for the first time in 30 years to create a stronger brand proposition. The move signals a new era for the brand as it aims to capitalise on consumer recognition for its classically designed small domestic appliances and white goods products by offering a range of complementary cookware and kitchen accessories. Rob Wileman, Director at Swan Products Ltd, said: “In realigning housewares and electricals we’re making it much easier for retailers to offer colour co-ordinating product lines, satisfying customer demand and essentially making us a one-stop shop for all Swan products. “We are incredibly excited about the new product collection

– Swan will be the only British housewares brand to offer fully colour co-ordinated ranges across housewares, kitchen-top appliances and white goods. “Competitor propositions currently include colour-matched collections encompassing housewares and electrical products but stop short of large kitchen appliances.”






study analysing the impact of Google’s mobile update has revealed confusion and concern amongst many businesses. The study of 1,000 UK SMEs, released by digital marketing agency Koozai, found businesses had experienced a drop in organic rankings and traffic even though they had optimised their websites for mobile. Although the foretold “mobilegeddon” didn’t transpire for many companies with websites that weren’t mobile compliant, 42% of businesses still claimed they experienced changes to their rankings or traffic as a result of the update.

Of these, 39% were concerned that they had seen a drop in rankings by at least three places and had noticed a drop in traffic as a result – some as much as 50%, and 22% of these respondents had seen a drop in rankings even though they had optimised for mobile. One SME owner leaving a comment on the survey summed up the general mood of business owners: “I had my website optimised for mobile months before this update. Before the update I was at the top of Google for some keywords on mobile search. Now I’m three or four, below websites which aren’t showing the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag.” Ben Norman, CEO of Koozai, said: “The hype that the Google mobile update would cause carnage in the search engine rankings missed the larger picture. Exaggerating the impact meant that businesses didn’t anticipate that even small changes in their ranking can have a big impact on their organic mobile search results. “The survey reveals inconsistent effects are being felt by businesses and that has resulted in confusion and concern. When a business has optimised for mobile then drops three places, it is understandable that they feel angry that they have acted on Google’s warnings and yet have still experienced a negative impact. 12


“Before the update I was at the top of Google for some keywords on mobile search. Now I’m three or four, below websites which aren’t showing the ‘mobilefriendly’ tag.”


 SHORTCUTS Linsar’s X24-DVD TV with soundbar has now received commendable reviews from two leading consumer titles. What Hi-Fi? awarded the product four stars, stating that it offers “rich, full, detailed sound” and a “sharp, punchy picture”. Earlier this year, Home Cinema Choice awarded the X24 4.5 stars and named it a Recommended Buy. Acoustic Energy has appointed Netherlands-based export sales team AV EMEA to manage its overseas sales. Zhang Ruimin, CEO of the Haier Group, has been named the first 2015 recipient of the Best Practices CEO Award, presented by the Best Practice Institute (BPI). Mr. Ruimin was selected for the Award from more than 500 nominees. Employees of Smeg UK will be heading to the mountains of Northern Italy this month for a 300-mile bike ride in support of children’s charity Action Medical Research. 35 cyclists, including Smeg customers, will ride from Venice to Milan on a bespoke route created by Action’s cycling experts.

“With more than 200 Google ranking factors, many businesses may have dropped in the organic search results when a competitor optimised for mobile because they were better optimised for some of these other ranking factors.” Of the businesses responding to the Koozai survey, 32% were said to be concerned that the update might have an impact on sales, while 45% were not worried as they said most of their sales came from desktops. A significant number of SMEs in the survey were unsure about the relationship between mobile and desktop searches, with 56% revealing they didn’t know if sales on their desktop sites had initially come from visitors viewing their products or services on mobile. Around 15% of respondents said they didn’t know whether their websites were optimised for mobile or not. Koozai’s Ben Norman said the survey uncovered a worrying lack of understanding of ecommerce analytics in the SME community. “Many consumers today will research on mobile then go on to purchase on desktop. “Many SMEs are missing out on these lead-creation opportunities if they don’t know if their ecommerce sites aren’t giving their potential customers a good experience on mobile.”

Servis has appointed Gloucestershire-based D.A.D as its exclusive distributor for the independent electrical sector. Whirlpool UK has appointed celebrity chef, restaurateur and food writer Adam Byatt as brand ambassador. Hisense has announced a multi-year partnership with the F1 Infiniti Red Bull Racing team, bringing its products to a wider audience as it aims to raise brand awareness and increase its presence in the UK market. The move comes as Hisense is due to announce an extensive new product range of CE and white goods for the UK.





Smart Technology, Stylish Design… With the LG F14U1JBS2 10KG 6 Motion DD Washing Machine ONE… TWO… THREE… UNIQUE FEATURES FOR THE PERFECT WASH





With LG’s unique TurboWash™ technology, your customers can have clean laundry in under an hour using less water and energy than a standard cotton programme.

The jet spray feature in LG’s TurboWash™ helps significantly reduce water consumption by up to 40%. Spraying water directly on to fabrics for 120 seconds, the jet spray enhances the exceptional washing and rinsing performance of 6 Motion Direct Drive technology and enables TurboWash™ to fast-forward an entire washing cycle.

LG TurboWash™ reduces energy consumption by up to 15%, creating energy savings and delivering cleaner clothes.



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Convenience from nature LG’s TrueSteam™ technology helps to eliminate 99.9% of allergens and sterilises bacteria. Is your customer constantly battling for a quick solution to freshen up their clothes? Well with Truesteam™ technology they can have fresher looking clothes that are soft, with fewer wrinkles and free from odour in just 20 minutes.

LESS THAN AN HOUR LG TurboWash™ enables not only the regular washing programme to finish in 59 minutes but also create impressive energy savings and maintains washing performance.


Combining durability and reliability with better care Due to its design and unique to LG, 6 Motion Direct Drive is able to perform various drum motions or a combination of different motions depending on the wash programme selected. Combined with a controlled spin speed and the ability of the drum to rotate both left and right, the wash performance of the machine is greatly improved, giving your customers perfect results every time. JUNE 2015 GET CONNECTED





ickling, salting, smoking and drying were just some of the methods used by our forebears to preserve foodstuffs in the pre-refrigeration era, in order to avoid the dreaded lurgy and conserve stocks so they could be enjoyed out of season or when shortages arose. And while we continue to enjoy our variously cured and preserved fancies to this day, our food choices have greatly expanded, with refrigeration technology facilitating the transport of a multiplicity of produce from around the world and providing us with the ability to store it safely in our homes. But the consequence of this abundance and extensive assortment of victuals is the production of waste and its damaging effect on the environment. American aphorist Mason Cooley hit the nail on the head when he opined: “Human society sustains itself by transforming nature into garbage.” It is estimated that the UK produces 15 million tonnes of food waste annually, and Defra statistics show that the largest source of such waste is households, which dispose of 7.2 million tonnes per year. Food poverty, and a rise in food bank use, recently brought the ongoing problem



of food waste to Parliament’s attention. In a House of Commons Library standard note dated 2nd December 2014, the causes of household food waste were noted as including, but were not limited to, incorrect storage, contamination, buying too much, incorrect portion size and food not consumed within the Use By date. While the issue of the note was a clear indication of the growing divide between the haves and have nots in UK society, it was also an aide memoire to the fact that 4.2-5.4 million tonnes of household waste is preventable and only 0.3 million tonnes is redistributed to humans and animals. According to the WRAP-established website Love Food Hate Waste, food wastage costs the average household £470 a year, rising to as much as £700 for a family with children, the latter equating to nigh on £60 per month.


Owain Harrison, marketing director for Baumatic, believes that, as an industry, we all have a responsibility to reduce food wastage, and he maintains that the first way to do this is by educating consumers as to what the latest cooling appliances

offer so they feel comfortable about how to keep food in a safe environment. “WRAP’s research highlights that many fridges are too warm, meaning that food does not last as long as it should,” he comments. “Lower energy-rated appliances with adjustable thermostats will ensure that food is kept at a temperature of below 5ºC and advanced models also feature indicators that warn when the temperature is too high and needs to be reduced. “Automatic defrost options result in frozen foods being defrosted faster in the refrigerator section, thereby maintaining temperature regulation at a more constant level. Multi airflow cooling systems allow air to flow evenly through the fridge and freezer section so that moisture does not build up on the frozen foodstuffs within, so labels can be easily viewed within the freezer section.” Harrison also points out that many no frost or frost free fridge freezers come with A+, and better, energy ratings and while they command a price premium, they also do away with the dreaded chore of manually defrosting the freezer, so are also an excellent up-sell opportunity for retailers.


as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables for longer, allowing families to buy more, take advantage of bargains or seasonal produce, shop less and store food in perfect condition for longer.” Austin also notes that in freezer technology, consumers want the total ease of use which is delivered by frost free, and he quotes GfK figures that show volume sales of frost free models rose 4% year on year in 2014.

of built-in odour filters, which prevent the transfer of food smells throughout the fridge interior.”


A survey conducted by Whirlpool in January 2015 revealed that 86% of Europeans said avoiding food waste is a real priority. That same 86% also stated that what they wanted most from a new-generation refrigerator was storage that preserves foodstuffs such as raw meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, freshness, taste and colour for longer. They also stated that the perfect


There is now increased confidence amongst consumers in the UK market, which is helping to make the market more buoyant” Showpiece: Haier’s 1-metre wide fridge freezer boasts 685 litres of net storage capacity, which the brand says is 35% more than that of a typical 4-door American refrigerator


Servis’s Rita Balestrazzi observes the impetus to cut living costs having a positive ongoing impact across the entire market and fuelling demand for every size and style of refrigeration models. “Cooling appliances have not only become integral to reducing household energy consumption, but also to combating the growing problem of food wastage,” she comments. “Hit hard by the rising cost of living, consumers are now more determined than ever to reduce the £470-700 yearly cost of throwing away household food. Whilst bulk buying groceries may be saving the consumer time, it is also costing them more money and leading them to overstock their pantries and cooling appliances. “As much of the food being thrown away is fresh produce, the consumer’s appetite for more efficient refrigeration is at an alltime high, driving sales for compact fridges and energy-saving combi fridge freezers at the budget to mid ends of the market, and boosting demand for larger capacity, specialist models at the more premium levels of this sector.” Balestrazzi highlights the fact that more specialist cooling features are adding value to the combi fridge freezer category. “Some models now offer Fresh zones in order to maintain lower temperatures for delicate food items such as meat and fish. Twin thermostats are also being incorporated into the latest fridge freezer designs, allowing the temperature of the fridge and freezer to be separately and more accurately controlled. Food preservation is also improving thanks to the inclusion


freezer should completely eliminate freezer burn on food and conserve the quality of frozen produce, keeping it at its best. The study also revealed that one in three people rate the refrigerator as their key appliance and 56% believe that, between what is stored inside and displayed on the exterior, their refrigerator reflects their whole lifestyle. “Prolonging the content of our fridge freezers is a vitally important issue in the UK as we tackle the mounting problem of food waste,” says Neil Austin, UK Trade Marketing Manager for Whirlpool. “Whirlpool is at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of exceptional food preservation technology and design that extends the life of fresh food such

Commenting on the performance of the cooling market in general during 2014, Austin again refers to GfK figures, stating that it increased 11.1% in value and 8.2% in volume. “The side-by-side sector is continuing to experience growth, with the category up by 15.2% in value, and volume up 14.6%,” he adds. “Sales for larger capacity one-door models up to 80 cm wide have grown 7% in volume and have a 19.4% share in value with a very positive average price increase of 8.8%.” Ben Peach, Head of Category for Refrigeration at GDHA, says the cooling market has had a strong 12 months and a number of factors have contributed to this performance. “The weather, as ever, plays a big part in how the cooling market performs and the last two hot summers naturally helped sales. “Other factors such as the improving economy also play a big part. As consumer confidence increases and people find themselves with a little more money in their pockets they are beginning to invest in home improvements, including new appliances. The move from the A to A+ energy rating has also been significant as people look for more energy-efficient products for the home. “Design-led items such as retro refrigeration and the continued growth of American-style side-by-side fridge freezers show that consumers want to have more

AMICA TARGETS STYLESEEKERS WITH NEW GLASSFRONTED COOLING Pitched at style-conscious consumers, the new glass cooling range from Amica is available in high-gloss black and high-gloss pure white, with a stylish electronic information display on the fridge door. The new models offer the choice of a 60:40 split three-drawer freezer or 50:50 split four-drawer freezer and a fridge section with clever storage options such as a Fresh Zone, wine rack and in-door balconies. Both versions are frost free, have an A+ rating for energy and boast intelligent electronic control.




Cooling technology is now increasingly based around fitting more into the same external space” ANDREW WASDELL, ELECTROLUX PRODUCT MANAGER, UK & IRELAND, FOOD PRESERVATION

space and also a product that will stand out in their kitchen. In fact, lower-cost side-by-sides have also become popular as more and more models become available at lower price points, making them more accessible to a wider group of consumers. This demonstrates that it is the size and overall aesthetic that is attractive, not just the features. We have also seen significant increase in sales of chest freezers over the last 12 months as people look to take advantage of supermarket price wars and buying in bulk.” Ebac, which manufactures Norfrost chest freezers, has upgraded the Norfrost climate class models to SN+T (10-43 degrees), so they can be run in a garage or conservatory. “The 60-litre chest freezer, which can be squeezed into the most compact space in a kitchen, utility room, garage or even under the stairs, is the smallest on the market,” says Ebac managing director Pamela Petty.


Smeg UK product development manager Joan Fraser believes that capacity is a big consideration and consumers are definitely of the “bigger is better” mindset. “But we’ve also noticed a growing trend for separate fridge and freezer pairs, and statement pieces are particularly popular, in line with the ongoing trend for open-plan living,” she comments. “Consumers want plenty of interior space to store as many products as possible for as long as possible, so a fridge can now provide a total food storage solution which



enhances the lifetime of food, the flavours and freshness, thanks to the latest food preservation technology – particularly cool compartments that are designed for storing fish, meat and dairy produce, which constantly maintain a temperature between 0°C and 5°C to meet this demand, and special technologies that will increase the lifespan of fruit and vegetables, such as our Active Fresh Blue Light technology, which increases the storage time of such foodstuffs and maintains their nutrients for longer.” “Capacity has really crept up the consumer buying agenda recently, but with that said, the perfect fridge to freezer ratio is different for everyone and is dependent on individuals’ lifestyles,” adds Gorenje National Sales Manager Stuart Benson. “For example, a large family may want a fridge freezer that offers a 50/50 ratio to accommodate big food shops, whereas a health-conscious individual who enjoys cooking may prefer a large fridge to store fresh ingredients. Here at Gorenje we find that an 80/20 or 70/30 fridge to freezer ratio is a combination that suits most.”

STYLISH COOLING FROM MONTPELLIER The latest in Montpellier’s ‘Stylish Cooling’ range is the MFF152 fridge freezer in a choice of white, trendy silver or black gloss finishes. With a wealth of features including frost free technology, toughened glass shelves and ample storage for a 50:50 split, Montpellier’s newest cooling companion certainly doesn’t disappoint. The MFF152 delivers outstanding cooling with a roomy 4.3 cu.ft. of fresh food space and 2.1 cu.ft. of storage for frozen food. It also boasts an eco-friendly A+ energy rating and offers peace of mind with its fully comprehensive 2-year parts & labour guarantee. The perfect size for any kitchen, the MFF152 is the ideal solution for all budgets and applications. H152 W54 D61cm. To view the full range, visit


Turning his attention to cost-savings, Benson suggests that retailers should understand and communicate the savings gained with energy-efficient appliances and put these in real terms for the consumer. “Customers appreciate savings and are seeking energy-efficient models more than ever as a way of keeping bills down. Fridges

Baumatic’s B40DSS 570-litre fridge freezer features electronic controls and multi airflow cooling with No Frost freezing

and freezers are the biggest contributors to your home energy bill after central heating and they account for 20% of the electricity used in the average UK home. Therefore, it makes sense for retailers to make the potential savings apparent to the consumer.” “The environment and energy cost-savings continue to be serious considerations across the board,” adds GDHA’s Ben Peach. “Many customers look at energy ratings during the purchasing decision. More and more brands are beginning to launch A++ products and that will become a must-have in the near future, and with some A+++ products now available in the UK as well, energy efficiency will remain top of the agenda.” “Over the years, cooling products have undergone a great deal of technological advancement. The market has been driven by consumer demand for quieter, more energy efficient products, and this is something that continues to influence the future of cooling technology,” maintains Steve Macdonald, Trade Marketing Director of Hoover Candy UK’s Freestanding Division. “Retailers and designers need to work closely with manufacturers to keep up to date with the latest innovations in


INTRODUCING THE ALL NEW WHITE DOOR ACTIVESMART™ FRIDGE FREEZER Fads come and go but the flat doors in stylish white on Fisher & Paykel’s new range of ActiveSmart™ fridges will never go out of style. Whether you’re looking to build or remodel your kitchen or just want to replace your old fridge, our ActiveSmart™ range of white fridges give you the food care your family deserves with a designer look that enhances any kitchen., facebook/FisherPaykel/UK, 08000 886 601,

COOLING Consumers are looking for more capacity, so American-style and 2-metre tall models continue to prove popular” RICHARD TREFFLER, PRODUCT MANAGER FOR KITCHENS AT MIELE

Miele’s KFN 37692 iDE frost free fridge freezer benefits from ‘PerfectFresh Pro’ technology and Dynamic Cooling

the cooling sector. They will then be able to answer consumers’ questions and help them to find a cooling appliance that will meet their needs. Is it big enough? Does it offer enough storage? Is it flexible enough to enable more space to be created inside when larger items need storing? Crucially, retailers need to be able to translate the latest innovations into tangible benefits for the consumer.”


“It’s essential that sales staff try to understand each customer’s needs and not make assumptions,” says Tim Hutchinson, Divisional Manager for Liebherr UK. “They should find out about their lifestyle, how big the household is, what they like to eat, their split of fresh and frozen and their shopping frequency. Only then can they really recommend a model that will serve their needs. “Consumers can easily get overwhelmed with product features and energy efficiency

so it’s vital to display information clearly and concisely. Liebherr’s most efficient models carry the Energy Saving Trust recommended label, which helps customers differentiate them in a crowded market. “You’ve got to make the customer understand that refrigerators and freezers are essentially the hardest-working appliances in the kitchen. They’re always on, are accessed typically every day throughout the day and, vitally, they protect the quality and nutrients of food.” In Miele’s view, it is demonstration that conveys the features of products best. Richard Treffler, Product Manager for Kitchens, says: “We always like to allow our customer to experience Miele through live demonstrations as much as possible. They are a key tool in getting messages across. I would also advise retailers to make sure that they stay on top and know all of the innovative features of the appliances that they offer. This will help them sell to a considered customer.”

NORFROST BY EBAC CHEST FREEZERS Norfrost chest freezers have been the consumer choice for many years. Now with an improved specification and the Ebac brand behind them, Norfrost by Ebac will once again become the choice of many.

in a conservatory. The added bonus of a Fast Freeze function – vital to so many households with fresh produce to freeze – means Norfrost by Ebac chest freezers really do provide everything the consumer needs.

The product range includes the smallest chest freezer on the market, plus an 84-litre with a standard appliance footprint and two larger models.

The new and improved range will launch in July 2015.

All Norfrost by Ebac chest freezers will run in a garage or outbuilding, and the tropical climate class will also work



For further information and pricing, email now.

Dawn Stockell, Head of Brand at LG, agrees that in-store demonstrations are key, stating that they are “by far” the best way to understand the latest appliances. “The launch of LG’s ten nationwide Shop-in-Shops enables consumers to experience live demonstrations, bringing to life the power and benefits of certain features and programmes, as well as showing the breadth of range available, with specially trained staff to help the consumer find the right product for them. “Product displays in-store consistently rank amongst the most important consumer touch-points and this is something that LG is devoting a significant amount of attention to in 2015.”


The final word on promoting products in-store comes from Beko product manager Gino Grossi, who says: “Whilst consumers are often interested in the special features an appliance has to offer, you can make a real difference in-store by sharing some handy tips for fridge and freezer maintenance. It’s a great way to show that your interest extends beyond the initial purchase.” Below are some of Grossi’s suggestions.

 Ensure that the refrigerator has adequate ventilation as outlined in the user guide. Poorly ventilated appliances cost more to run and have a shorter life span  Use recommended temperatures for safer food storage: Fridge 4-5°C, Freezer -18°C  Features such as a chiller zone (which operates at 0°C) are great for longer lasting food  Use the fast freeze and quick cool functions to provide fewer opportunities for bacteria to develop  Keep units clean and regularly clean seals with soapy water  Bicarbonate of soda is a great, cheap and efficient cleaning solution. Dissolve in hot water and use to clean inside the unit

Refreshing design and ice cold water on tap Lec TF55185WTD 55cm combi frost free water through door fridge freezer. • No plumbing required • No need to defrost • 1.8 metres high • 55cm wide

White 444443520

• A+ energy rated, so you can be sure that Lec is doing its job in the most efficient way possible.


WHIRLPOOL LAUNCHES NEW SLIM-LINE DISHWASHERS Whirlpool has launched two new 45cm dishwashers, a built-in and a freestanding model, w ith A+AA ratings for energy, washing and drying performance and operational noise levels of 50 dB(A). The freestanding ADPF 782 IX, available in white or stainless steel, has nine place settings, six programmes and uses 9 litres of water. j

PURE CHOOSES MINI MODERNS FOR LATEST DESIGNER COLLABORATION Pure has introduced a new designer edition of its Bluetooth Pop Midi and Maxi digital radios, sporting a Mini Moderns nautical themed ‘Whitby’ signature design inspired by 1950s linocuts. j

DENON ADDS TO HEOS WIRELESS RANGE Denon® has expanded its HEOS wireless multi-room music system range with the addition of the HEOS 1, the first product in the series intended for both indoor and outdoor use. The brand is also launching the HEOS 1 Go Pack, which extends the usability and features of the HEOS 1 for consumers who want their music on the go. j

THE WHITE COLLECTION FROM TEFAL Tefal’s new White Collection comprises six new food preparation items in brilliant white, all of which have been designed to make food preparation easier and faster. Products offer a selection of actions such as blend, liquidise, emulsify, knead, chop, grind, whisk and beat. The complete range comprises the Fruit Sensation, Easy Soup, Infiny Force hand blender, a compact Kitchen Machine, Mastermix blender and Minipro Chopper. j

01753 834900 |

MONSTER ADDS FLOATING SPEAKER TO SUPERSTAR RANGE Monster’s SuperStar BackFloat speaker is a Bluetooth portable, floatable device suitable for the bath or shower and all kinds of all-weather outdoor activities. The unit has a tough, shockproof silicon case and is waterproof to IPX6. j




MINISTRY OF SOUND INTRODUCES NEW AUDIO RANGE Ministry of Sound has launched a new audio range including portable wireless speakers, Wi-Fi-connected multi-room home speakers and highquality headphones. The connected WiFi speakers are fully interoperable with all OS platforms and support multi-room playback and the most popular music streaming services. A new smartphone and tablet app lets users browse and play music from any device, stream different songs in each room, customise features and access exclusive content.




Liebherr’s new ColourLine fridge freezer offers a focal point for the kitchen with a choice of powder-coated finishes in fire red, avocado green or water blue. The appliance is A++ energy rated and operates at just 39dB(A). It has bright LED interior lighting and is easy to maintain, with SmartFrost preventing the buildup of ice. j

Kenwood’s new kCook one-pot appliance will prepare and cook casseroles, fresh soups and sauces, with a simple step-by-step guide and three convenient preset programmes. The user simply adds the ingredients to the bowl, selects the appropriate function and switches the machine on. The appliance switches off automatically when cooking is complete. A manual mode allows the speed and temperatures to be changed. A dedicated recipe app has been developed for IOS and Android and a kCook recipe page will also be available at

01767 60 2221

PANASONIC LAUNCHES NEW SLIM-LINE COMBI MICROWAVES Panasonic’s new 1000W slim-line combi microwave ovens offer the efficiency of a microwave with the traditional browning and roasting functions of a conventional oven. 21 auto programmes take the guesswork out of cooking foodstuffs such as beef, lamb, fish & chips and porridge, while Inverter Technology delivers a seamless stream of cooking power to provide an even cooking process. Panasonic has moved the fan to the roof of the ovens, thereby reducing their depth by 20% and providing a 27-litre capacity. j

AEG RELEASES NEWLY DESIGNED RANGE OF COMPACT OVENS AEG has launched a new collection of five compact appliances, led by the Pyroluxe 45cm oven. The pyrolytic flagship appliance has an onboard food probe and a selection of pre-programmed recipes operated via a TFT touchscreen display. Optiflex single mountable, flexible runners allow users to configure the oven interior to suit their needs. j

03445 611 611 | JUNE 2015 GET CONNECTED



It’s all about smart connectivity


portfolio, is the Music Flow wireless multiroom speaker system. LG’s latest addition to its multi-room Music Flow range is the LG H4 portable speaker, which can be used inside and outside of the home. Laura Bulander, product Manager, Sony HAV, says: “Multi-room playback lets you enjoy the music you want to hear, wherever and whenever you want to around the home. Use your phone or tablet to control playback of different music sources in each room with Sony’s SongPal app.” Robert King, vice president, consumer electronics, Samsung UK and Ireland, says Samsung has a number of smart home networking products, such as its SUHD Smart TVs powered by Tizen, an open standard operating system. “With Quick Connect, Samsung Smart TVs automatically recognise Samsung smartphones, once paired via Bluetooth technology. Users can share video content from their Samsung smart phone to their Smart TV at the touch of a button.” LG’s WW9000 washing machine can be controlled by a smartphone, and the brand’s Chef Collection range includes an oven with timing and temperature settings that can be controlled over a Wi-Fi network via an app. It even sends a notification when the meal is cooked. Ian Griffiths, Panasonic UK product manager home appliances, comments that Panasonic’s Hub (KX-HNB600) is the heart of a system that joins various devices together including the KX-HNC200 indoor camera, which can be used with motion, sound and temperature sensors. Philips, meanwhile, says all Smart TVs in its 2015 range (including the entry-level 5500 range) will be powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, an operating system designed for smart devices. This will give users access to apps from the Philips Smart TV platform and the Google Play store. Philips Smart TVs powered by Android can also serve as a central hub for all Smart Home applications. Philips Spotify Connect powered SW700 and SW750 speakers connect to a Wi-Fi home network and are controlled with a Spotify app. Matt Laird, Sony’s product manager for TV, notes that the majority of Sony’s 2015 TV line-up features Android TV, “so everything you do on your tablet or smartphone you can now do on the big screen,” he says. “With Google Cast Ready, you can send content from your smartphone or tablet to your TV.”


fK says almost 500,000 multi-room units were sold in 2014, while Futuresource says one in five households will buy a multi-room speaker by the end of 2015. Built-in connectivity is fast becoming a standard feature, whether it’s a television, Blu-ray player, audio system or home appliance. At present, few consumers are making the most of this connectivity, but the picture will change over the coming years. In the past, home networking was the province of the rich or the tech-savvy customer who was prepared to spend a lot of time getting devices to talk to each other. But all this has changed. The technology has evolved and a push for standardisation has made it much easier to build and use a home network. Home networking has expanded to include home entertainment, security and utilities such as heating and lighting. The explosion of smartphone 22


and tablet apps has also made it easier to control and manage home networks. The message is clear: home networking is something retailers cannot afford to ignore and the most successful ones will be those that grasp the opportunities offered by this fast-growing and fast-moving market.


Robert Taylor, LG’s product manager for home entertainment, says: “LG’s range of networked products is very broad, with connectivity that extends across the home to give an integrated experience to users. LG’s televisions feature a range of connectivity options, allowing the seamless movement of content from mobile devices and PCs to the home screen.” Taylor believes that multi-room systems will become the standard way to play music and he adds that, central to LG’s networked


One of the biggest challenges facing retailers is the wide range of connectivity technologies used in home networking. LG’s products, for example, can use LG


Smart Share, which wirelessly sends multimedia content from a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone to a TV. WiDi enables users to share the content from a WiDi-compatible PC. Miracast allows users to wirelessly mirror content from compatible mobile devices using Wi-Fi. NFC allows easy pairing with mobile devices; for example, the NFC connectivity on LG’s washing machines provides easy diagnosis of problems via a smartphone, as well as the uploading of new washing programmes to the appliance. Bluetooth technology offers easy wireless connectivity. Dual band MESH network technology supports multi-room audio and enables users to play music from smart devices to multiple speakers around the home. Philips’ Smart TVs feature Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, DLNA, Wi-Fi Miracast and Spotify Connect. Panasonic’s Smart Home solutions use DECT ULE technology, based on the technology used by cordless phones. Humax set-top boxes can connect to home networks via Ethernet or an additional USB Wi-Fi dongle (some products have built in Wi-Fi). If the user’s router is located separately from the box and TV, then a PowerLine adaptor can make the connection. DLNA-compatible devices allow media files on a home network storage device or PC to be viewed via a Humax box. Retailers not only need to understand how the various technologies work, but have the confidence to demonstrate how they can be used to connect various devices together.


The biggest talk is about the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of billions of devices – from TVs to toasters and washing machines to wearables – that are connected to each other over a home network and the internet. “We see the Internet of Things as a prized opportunity to pursue open, collaborative innovation on a mass scale, which will ultimately allow the IoT era to bring greater benefits and value to consumers across the world,” says Samsung’s Robert King. “We’re committed to expanding the number of IoT devices and components available in the market.” He adds that, in 2015, Samsung’s IoT-ready product portfolio will expand with new products such as intelligent TV/ AV devices and customisable personal signage. By 2017, all Samsung televisions will be IoT devices and in five years’ time, all Samsung products will be IoT devices. “Samsung’s acquisition of SmartThings [a smart technology company] will further aid this expansion, as we recognise that to create a truly smart home we need different brands to speak to each other, and for the Internet of Things to succeed we need more than IoT devices and components. We need to create an open IoT ecosystem where the things can communicate with one another, regardless of manufacturer.”

“Built-in connectivity is fast becoming a standard feature”

Humax says its strategy for the IoT is to introduce and develop a number of products and services that will support the growing connected devices sector. Humax sees the traditional set-top box ‘reinvented’, with enhanced devices that deliver an increased portfolio of services and products.


Entertainment content is migrating from the physical world to the digital world, with more and more being delivered over IP networks. LG’s Blu-ray players, for example, allow users to stream the audio from movies and games directly to their smartphone. At the moment, most streaming content consists of audio or static images, but the streaming of high resolution video will become standard in the future. This will put additional demands on home networks. Retailers selling home network products or services will need to ensure that the customer’s network infrastructure can cope with the demand for extra capacity. The rise of smart home networks will give retailers the opportunity to help customers build customised home networks, although this will mean that staff will need to be trained in a variety of skills and technologies. For retailers who don’t wish to go down the custom install route, there will still be plenty of opportunities to help customers select the right products and devices for their home network. Helping consumers set up their connected home could reap rich rewards for those retailers who are well-placed to assist.

GEORGE COLE REPORTS FROM THE 2015 IFA GLOBAL PRESS CONFERENCE Innovation is driving the consumer electronics market and connectivity is now part of our daily life. That was the message from this year’s Conference. Speaking at the event, Juergen Boyny, GfK global director for consumer electronics, said: “Connectivity is the big theme for 2015, with the market driven by smartphone sales (forecast to reach 1.4bn globally), and the launch of new smart technologies including wearables.” Boyny said 4K televisions will account for 11% of all flat screen TV sales in 2015, rising to 17% in 2016. Smart TVs will account for 41% of sales in unit terms this year, and 45% next year. We can also expect to hear a lot of hype around drones, he added. Boyny also had a message for retailers: “There’s a lack of communication between retailers and consumers. Retailers should be interested in selling advanced products.” In a presentation on the prospects of 4K TV, Paul Gray, principal analyst/researcher at

IHS Technology, forecast that by 2018, all sets 50-inch and above will offer ultra high definition (UHD) resolution. Gray said that resolution wasn’t the main driver for 4K – deeper colour, greater dynamic range and a faster frame rate had a greater impact on the viewing experience. He also noted that the higher dynamic range offered by 4K sets caused visual discomfort for some viewers. “It’s rather like the way loudness increases when the adverts come on. With 4K, the high brightness levels can be painful to view. This

needs to be standardised,” he said. Philips used the event to announce that 80% of its 2015 range of TVs would use Android technology, while Haier showed a dual drum washing machine that can run two different wash cycles simultaneously. Grundig revealed ‘Vux’ (Visual User Experience), a technology which replaces physical cooker controls with lightprojected touch-controlled icons. Christian Göke, chief executive of Messe Berlin, announced that, for the first time, Whirlpool would be present at IFA with its entire

portfolio of brands. He added that last year, IFA had 47,800 trade visitors, almost 1000 more than the previous year. But he admitted that IFA was “bursting at the seams” despite opening CityCube Berlin last year, which provides an additional 12,000 m² of exhibition space. “I’m confident we will find extra capacity in the next two or three years,” he said.

This year’s IFA will be held in Berlin on 4-9 September.






wo speakers at this year’s IFA Global Press Conference in Malta poured doubt over the future of disc formats like Blu-ray and DVD. Paul Gray, principal analyst/researcher at IHS Technology, said: “I have concerns about disc,” while Juergen Boyny, GfK global director for consumer electronics, noted: “People are not buying CDs anymore; music is coming from Spotify or iTunes, and the same thing is happening with Blu-ray – it’s a fading category. Video content at home is global content and will be streamed.” After his presentation, I asked Paul Gray to elaborate. He started by noting that Paramount Home Entertainment had handed over the distribution of its physical disc products to Universal Pictures in a

number of key markets, including the UK. This move could send a message to retailers that physical discs are less important, and so they stock fewer disc products. This in turn conveys a message to consumers that discs are less important, and so you get a vicious circle, with falling disc sales leading to fewer disc products being available on the market. “The thing that really frightens me,” says Gray, “is the collapse of the channel. Suddenly, you’ve seen a reduction in product and promotion, the channel has shrivelled. Nowadays, if you want to buy a Blu-ray disc you go to a supermarket. The business model for Blu-ray was ‘you see a movie in a boxed set in a shop, buy the box and watch the movie’. Now, you think


I also took the opportunity to ask Paul Gray about the decision by broadcasters like the BBC and Japanese NHK not to broadcast the 2016 Olympics in 4K. He says the reason was a pragmatic one: they weren’t ready for 4K. “The BBC and NHK took the view that 4K was an improvement, but that it wasn’t a giant leap forward. I like to use the expression that 4K sets were released into the wild and the success took everyone – including broadcasters and manufacturers – by surprise.” Regarding the Olympic Games, Gray says: “The attitude is that it’s probably better to wait and do it well, rather than rush in and do it badly. It’s no good launching a service which relies on a light on the front of the television informing the viewer that they are now watching a 4K broadcast! It needs to make a big impact. People like Sky Deutschland are spending a huge amount of time and money on understanding what works in 4K and how to shoot it. If the first time you see 4K and it doesn’t have the wow factor, then you are really missing something.” Live sport is especially tricky for 4K, says Gray: “The level of training camera crews need is very high. So, in light of this, I’m not surprised that broadcasters decided that next year wasn’t the right time for 4K.” 24


“People are not buying CDs anymore; music is coming from Spotify or iTunes, and the same thing is happening with Blu-ray – it’s a fading category.”

about the movie, browse a catalogue on Amazon and either wait three days to get it or stream it. The instant gratification of the packaged market is being reduced, simply because the channel is drying up.”


Ultra High Definition isn’t just about TVs and a new generation of Blu-ray players, says Gray, it’s also going to appear on smartphone and tablet displays. He forecasts that 200 million UHD smartphones and tablets will be shipped in 2021. “We are at the point where UHD standardisation is coming. The puzzle pieces are coming into place for true UHD.”


At present, the best way of seeing 4K broadcasts is using a 4K service from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. For this you’ll need a super-fast broadband link. Super-fast broadband is rolling out across the UK, but even if you can get the service where you live, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to watch 4K content, says Gray. “When you factor in things like broadband restrictions and contention (whereby the available bandwidth is shared between a certain number of users), then you’re not likely to be watching in UHD,” he says.




he aspect ratio of a TV picture is the relationship between its width and height, generally expressed by two whole numbers separated by a colon. This is very much taken for granted – it’s been 16:9 since the introduction of digital TV broadcasting and thin TV screens. But when the original image and the TV screen don’t match in shape customer queries and complaints can arise, and sometimes be difficult to deal with.


In the very early days of TV the picture’s aspect ratio was an almost-square 5:4 because both the screen and the camera’s image sensor were circular, and it was important to mask off as little as possible of the small display area. As technology progressed rectangular TV tubes became available and the ratio was changed to 4:3, where it remained for many years of black and white and colour broadcasting. The film studios turned out similarly-shaped pictures for cinema projection until about the mid-fifties, when television began to be seen as a threat to the cinema industry. A crop of wider screen shapes then appeared, some as extreme as 2.66:1 or 24:9. These were difficult to reproduce on TV! Later most cine films settled down to an aspect ratio around 21:9. Philips introduced their Cinema 21:9 TV in 2009, a 56-inch LCD model designed for movie viewers. 50-inch and 58-inch variants followed but demand was low, so production ceased in 2012. At CES 2014 LG and Samsung showed very expensive ‘CinemaScope’ 21:9 UHD extra-widescreen (5120×2160 pixels) TVs in 105-inch LCD curved form – not exactly bread and butter products!

hand, and wider movie images on the other) are broadcast there is inevitably a compromise in showing them at home: widescreen pictures are most often ‘letterboxed’ with black bars above and below, annoying to viewers frustrated over the loss of some picture area, and detrimental in its burning effect on such phosphor screens (CRT, plasma) as remain in use. Even so, this is the choice of most movie directors, anxious to have the material displayed as they intended. There are two alternatives available to broadcasters: cropping, where the sides of the picture are cut off so that the screen can be filled in the vertical plane; and pan-and-scan, where a viewing ‘window’ of the same shape as the TV screen is moved about within the original picture to best capture the action and background. On some movies and scenes this can be very unsatisfactory with regard to retaining all the action and keeping the dialogue and the peripheral sound in a credible relationship with the image. It can also lose up to almost 50% of the original panoramic picture... In the lesser case of reproducing old 4:3 material the possibilities are ‘pillarboxing’ with black margins at each side of the image on the wider viewing screen, and ‘vertical stretch’ with the top and bottom of the image cut off, but filling the screen with picture. This involves a loss of definition in the vertical plane, with the detail being more stretched out, as it were; and some difficulty with subtitled programmes, where the cropped image has to be moved bodily upwards, losing more of it at the top. Thus in every case where screen and original image shown differ there is some kind of

trade-off: under-occupation of the viewing screen, with ugly black bars at the sides or the top and bottom; loss of definition in one or both planes; and/or severe cropping of the original image. In the 21:9 TVs mentioned above one or other of these would have been even more severe for, perhaps, most viewing. Maybe that’s why they never really caught on. In the cinema or at home with projection equipment a remedy of sorts is to adjust the position of the side curtains, a psychological trick which doesn’t really solve the basic incompatibility.


In legacy standard-definition equipment there is provision in the Scart connector for switching to widescreen by a mid-point voltage (6V) at pin 8, coming typically from a VCR. Current TV broadcasts incorporate an Active Format Description flag to autoswitch between old and new aspect ratios, selectable in the installation menu, e.g. as ‘Smart width’ mode as opposed to Zoom1, Zoom2 or similar settings. Customers and users with complaints of black bars or topped-and-tailed pictures should be referred to this so that they can choose their own compromise. Older 4:3 TVs, generally glass-tubed ones, are now necessarily used with a digital settop box whose user-accessible installation menu gives a choice of 4:3 or 16:9 shape, formatted within the box. It’s obviously still full of compromise at the former setting but the only practical choice with these old ‘square’ TVs. This choice is usually featured on other source boxes like disc players and also games consoles – if it cannot be quickly found consult the instruction book! None of these problems are going to go away.


All current TV broadcasts are shot in 16:9 ratio to match the screen shape, but whenever pictures of a different shape (mainly old 4:3 TV programmes on the one

LG extra-wide 105-inch UHD TV




The retailer panel: wit, wisdom and realism

retra President John Hutchinson



he organisation has now been managing change over a number of years, and this year’s Annual Industry Conference, a one-day event held in London in May, had the focused, businesslike feel of a gathering that was here to get to grips with the future, and clearly understood that ongoing change was not just an option, but a necessity.


Under the circumstances, it felt like one of the most important, pivotal retra Conferences of recent times. Reflecting the independents’ collective recognition of the need to get the future right, it was titled “Together towards tomorrow.” As alliterative slogans go, it was well judged, expressing a sense of independents’ unity as they move ahead into a “tomorrow” that, while it will definitely be different, cannot be predicted with any certainty. As retra President John Hutchinson said in the Conference programme, the theme was “aimed at examining what we need to be doing to survive in tomorrow’s world.”


The programme of speakers was equally well judged, with a good mix of “traditional” expertise - of the kind that never loses its relevance in any environment – alongside the current and future skills and practices – including social networking, the 26


path from search engine to purchase, how advances in CE technology and content availability affect buying decisions – that will be needed in the complex, multi-layered, part-digital and part-personal tomorrow’s world of electrical retail. The manufacturers’ and retailers’ panels, recently reintroduced to the proceedings, provided the industry touchstones and reality checks that give the retra Conference its immediacy and relevance. In particular, the retailers’ panel injected a pithy, down-to-earth, sometimes controversial, sometimes humorous but always useful element.


The theme of change extended to the fact that, for retra CEO Bryan Lovewell, who took on the role in 2007 - just before the credit crunch, the financial crisis and the longest recession in living memory changed the world of independent retail for ever – this was his last Conference before retirement. He was largely instrumental in refocusing retra, and in particular sharpening the Conference programmes to offer reallife 21st century business usefulness for members in these times of profound change, but was unable to attend this final Conference under his stewardship. We wish him well, and offer our best wishes to his successor, Howard Saycell, who now has the task of continuing to represent independents in a changing world.


“doing extremely well,” but in which To get the full benefit of a packed independents have a weak market and lively programme, you really share. The hot beverages market, for had to be there, but a few nuggets example, is growing “very fast”, but of the wit and wisdom on offer will independents are poorly represented. suffice to give a flavour. President Food prep, worth some £200 million, is John Hutchinson presented a a clear target, in particular liquidisers, possible solution to the inequitable which are 43% of the food prep market burden of business rates falling and an area where independents disproportionately upon brickscurrently have “almost no share.” and-mortar retailers, while online Hand stick vacuum cleaners are businesses get away with it. He also an area of opportunity for proposes a “retail rates charge” to independents. “Independents have replace the current business rates done fantastically well in the hand system, which would be applied stick cordless category,” he said. “It’s universally to bricks-and-mortar and definitely an area to focus on.” He also online sales, and would help redress expects the robot cleaner market to the “unfair advantage” that internet grow strongly. retailers currently enjoy. It’s an As always, the retailers’ panel idea worth considering created some lively and as a levelling of the sometimes controversial playing-field. It is debate. Michael R also important, Peters MD Paul however, to Mead called for recognise that more support from part of the manufacturers in problem bricksmaking independent and-mortar stockists easier to retailers have is find on their websites. that consumers are “We’re a dying breed, finding it increasingly as independents,” he said, GfK’s Nigel Catlow sees “and we need all the help convenient and easy to opportunities in small shop online rather than we can get.” appliances take that trip to the Tom Hayes, owner local outlet. It’s a battle of Birmingham retail not only with the financial inequities, operation T C Hayes, brought his usual but also with inexorably shifting directness to the panel. He admitted consumer habits. that for the last two years “my Mr Hutchinson also mentioned – business has stood still.” And, to the more change – that the role of retra contention that independents should President is to be replaced with that look for margin by skilfully selling addof Chairman. ons, he had a reply that, in its way, GfK’s Nigel Catlow always brings goes to the heart of the “traditional” commercially valuable facts and independent’s problem with changing figures to the Conference, and this consumer habits and declining year drew independents’ attention to footfall: “You can only sell the add-on the “big opportunities” in the small if you’ve sold the bloody product in the appliances market, which is currently first place.”

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Get Connected Magazine - June 2015  

Contents 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 14 Cooling Feature Food preservation: consumers need to know more about...

Get Connected Magazine - June 2015  

Contents 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 14 Cooling Feature Food preservation: consumers need to know more about...