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Seasonal Cooking Small Kitchen Appliances TV & AV Electric Heating

Product Gallery

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Freeview Play; OLED UHD TVs; Setting the standard for HDR

FROM THE BENCH Alan Bennett on TV ‘black level’ Visit for the latest

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INSIDE... 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word

In and around the industry

17 18


Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33 Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741

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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, Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SB.

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George Cole Gets Connected When was the last time you asked a customer if he or she had an electricity supply in order to run the television they were buying?

18 20

From the Bench



The Product Gallery Is black level important? What exactly is it? Alan Bennett explains

A seasonal look at some of the principal electrical and electronic product categories that will be leading the retail charge during the crucial Christmas period, featuring:

22 25 28 32 34

Seasonal Cooking – Appliances that take the stress out of seasonal entertaining Small Kitchen Appliances – Top-end quality, style and value

TV/AV – Products that are driving the market and UHD update

– A gallery of festive specials

Electric Heating – Focal point fires and portable heating






entioning the “C” word, with all that it entails for our industry, may be especially fraught this year with that mingled sense of hopeful anticipation and indefinable dread. Like it or not, it’s still perceived by some retailers and manufacturers as a “make or break” period, which on its own can mean the difference between triumph and disaster for a whole year’s effort. But why is this Christmas especially significant? It’s because our industry is emerging from the dragging effects of the recession as a radically different beast from the familiar animal we knew and loved prior to 2008, and Christmas is the magnifying glass that exaggerates the effects of change and gives us some reliable clues about the possible shape of electrical manufacture and retailing into the future. We know that online retailing is taking an increasing share of the total UK electricals market. The pre- and post-Christmas figures will give us an idea how much.

We know that cooking and food preparation are a special focus for consumers during this season. Christmas will tell us how enthused they are about which of the outstanding innovations available this year (and also, crucially, how important face-to-face explanation and demonstration is to the understanding and adoption of the new technological features.) We know that the traditionally core product of the UK Consumer Electronics market – the television – has enjoyed some success with developments such as UHD, but at the expense of margin. Christmas may give us more information about how the industry should play that seasonal war of nerves between canny bargain-seeking consumers and nervous manufacturers and retailers whose only weapon seems to be discounting. Consumer Electronics has a rather poor track record when it comes to holding out for an adequate price for its truly valuable new technological developments. So both manufacturers and retailers have been condemned to wafer-thin or non-existent margin for innovations that should command a longer-lived premium in the market. Hence innovation has been devalued before it has had time to recoup the costs of development. It’s all in the balance in 2015 in a way that it hasn’t been for decades. Time will tell. In the meantime, it’s an interesting thought that one retailer (see our Changing Seasons Integral Supplement in this issue) has found a more profitable use of store space by converting a dedicated demonstration room from home theatre and 3D TV to... electric fires. Who, just a few years ago, would have thought that choosing electric fires over home theatre to get the dedicated demo treatment in-store would be a realistic and, above all, profitable retail option? We live in interesting times. Whatever choices – bold or traditional – you make this Christmas, we wish you every success.

”It’s all in the balance in 2015 in a way that it hasn’t been for decades. Time will tell.”



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

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onsumer confidence declined in September as Britons became less positive about the general economy and their personal finances. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index decreased four points to +3, with all five of the measures used to calculate the score falling. Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, said consumers are in a “depressed back-to-school” mood. “Across the board, all components of the Index

have dropped, despite a positive UK news agenda of continued near-zero inflation, low interest rates and levels of unemployment, UK wage growth at a six-year high and the ever increasing value of our homes.” The biggest decrease was in how the public viewed the general economic situation in the UK over the past 12 months, which dropped six points to -3, while expectations for the forthcoming 12-months fell five points to -2, six points lower than at this time last year.



rgos has launched a sameday home delivery service, allowing customers to select from four delivery slots – 7am10am, 10am-1pm, 2pm-6pm and 7pm-10pm – seven days a week including Sunday. Those ordering by 6pm can have an item delivered by 10pm the same day. Customers can see Fast Track items clearly online, purchase them and choose to either collect them from a local store or schedule a same-day or next-day delivery slot.





Fast Track Collection is also available in 800 Argos store locations nationwide. The same-day delivery service has created new jobs for 3,300 drivers, who will operate 800 liveried Argos vans in the UK this Christmas season. Argos has been testing Fast Track for several months and said customer reaction to the home delivery service, which costs £3.95, has been “very positive.” Bryan Roberts, Senior VicePresident & Knowledge officer for EMEA at Kantar Retail, said delivery has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds for UK retailers. “In terms of customers being able to order online as late as 6pm and receive products on their doorstep that evening, Argos is showing its rivals a clean pair of heels with this new speedy nationwide service. While having the right offer at the right price will be as crucial as ever this Christmas, there will also be a sprint finish on the nation’s roads to deliver the goods the same or next day.”



World plc has said it expects overall revenue to increase year on year by 20%-21% for the quarter ended September 2015, driven by growth in excess of 30% in sales at In a trading statement released ahead of its interim results for the six-month period from 1st April to 30th September, CFO Mark Higgins said AO World's UK business continues to grow. “We have accelerated our investment in the brand over the quarter through TV advertising and other media, which is essential to the long-term future of the business as well as growing revenue in the near term.” Higgins said that progress in Germany remains in line with plan and the company continues to be encouraged by the development of the business. “The long term strategic progress of the business is on track,” he added.




hancellor George Osborne announced that the government will abolish the uniform business rate and give local authorities the power to cut business rates to boost enterprise and economic activity in their areas. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, he said all £26 billion of business rates will be kept by councils instead of being sent to Whitehall. The move would be “the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory,” he said, adding that cities and counties should not be forced to come to national government “with a begging bowl.” The reform will mean local government retaining all revenue from business rates for the first time since 1990. John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The surprise announcement to allow councils to retain business rates presents a huge opportunity for local authorities and business to work together to boost local growth, develop a fairer tax system and create the jobs of the future. “We also know there will be challenges to get the new system right. We want to ensure businesses don’t get short changed. It is essential the new rates structure works for all our 5.2 million small firms.” Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, commented: “This is a bold step by the Chancellor, and one that we are keen to see more detail on quickly. The business rates system as it stands has myriad problems and needs dramatic reform and we would not want this move to exacerbate those issues. The fact that some local authorities have a much higher tax intake than others could lead to rate distortion across the country and have knock-on effect on growth, leaving some local authorities struggling to keep up.”




LG OPENS 13TH SHOP-IN-SHOP LG has continued its shop-in-shop expansion scheme with the opening of its latest venture at Martin Dawes in Warrington. It is the second joint LG Home Appliance and Home Entertainment shop-in-shop to open in the UK. LG’s Home Entertainment products are displayed in a brand new layout for its shop-in-shops, including for the first time an interactive audio wall demonstrating LG Music Flow’s state-of-the-art features and a range of the brand’s OLED 4K TVs. The latest premium home appliance products are also on display. “At Martin Dawes we want to deliver the best in-store customer experience and believe that strong Brand Zones are one of the best ways to do so,” said Steve Jepson, Martin Dawes Managing Director. “Our customers relish any opportunity to be shown fully-working products so they

can be confident that the item they take home will fit in, both with their lifestyle and space. I’m really impressed with the LG shop-in-shop layout, which allows for an exceptional demonstration of the LG products and an overall great customer experience.” Andy Mackay, UK Commercial Director of Consumer Electronics at LG, commented: “Opening the thirteenth LG shop-in-shop in the UK, demonstrates our continued ambition to support the independent retail sector and showcase our products in a way that truly highlights their unique functionalities. “With LG Home Entertainment and LG Home Appliance ranges alongside, Martin Dawes will be able to provide its customers with live demonstrations that illustrate the values and benefits of the products, giving them a feel for what it is like to use our TVs or washing machines in their own home.”


ohn Lewis has opened its largest store in four years, in Birmingham City’s Grand Central retail development. The 250,000 sq ft outlet is one of the retailer’s biggest department stores in the UK and is claimed to be its most innovative shop to date, having been chosen to debut several brand new services and concepts. The £35 million store signals the retailer’s commitment to investing in shops as part of its omni-channel approach and has created 650 new jobs across Birmingham and the wider region. Speaking at the opening, John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “Today sends a clear message that John Lewis is firmly committed to the British High Street and that physical shops remain as important to us as they do to our customers.”




lomberg has embarked upon a six-week nationwide roadshow to provide bespoke training to over 400 Euronics staff in 14 locations in England and Wales. The roadshow is delivering the latest information on the new Blomberg product range of 48 energy-efficient products available only to Euronics agents. “We are 100% committed to providing best-in-class training and support to our Euronics retail partners, and this new roadshow further emphasises our commitment,” said Kay Ainsworth, Head of Training at Beko plc. “We work hard to ensure our training programmes are fresh and engaging. We were very proud to be recently awarded two industry awards for our approach and delivery, and are more determined than ever to stay top of our game.”


onnect Distribution has created a ‘Shop Local’ leaflet which can be used at point of sale or in marketing activity for retailers to advertise their business to the local community. Its aim is to build business for independents through promotions on leading products and brands, encouraging repeat business and add-on purchases from customers. The 8 page A4 publication promotes a selection of what Connect says are “good sellers with good margins” from key small domestic appliance brands such as Bosch, Morphy Richards, Russell Hobbs, Duracell, Remington, Delonghi and Wellco. The content has been chosen to ensure a mix of premium and budget lines that retailers can buy competitively. All trade offers will be held until the 31st of December, while stocks last. Retailers can also take advantage of Connect’s Direct Delivery service to households, so stock levels can be kept to a minimum. All items featured in the leaflet can be delivered next day to any UK address. For further information, contact Connect on 0844 557 3700 or speak to your local sales executive.


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Online retailer has reported that orders for robotic vacuum cleaners rose 259% in the past six months, while sales of robotic floor mopping devices increased 173% in the same period.


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he announcement supports industry opinion that robotic cleaners are finding their place in the floorcare sector. Products have been on the market for well over a decade but it is only recently that consumer awareness and confidence in such appliances has grown. Advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to bring greater power and better cleaning techniques to the category, and prices have fallen as more brands and products enter the market. According to industry analyst GfK, robotic vacuum cleaners saw average prices halve during 2014, yet increased volumes helped push the sector value up by 82%. Research carried out by AppliancesDirect suggests that the robotic cleaner market is poised for further growth, as an increasingly time-poor nation strives to alleviate some of the daily grind. The e-tailer found that one in three of 1,000 British adults surveyed relies on outside help with housework, while 16% enlist the help of a cleaner on a regular basis. 41% of people claimed their busy professional and personal lives mean they would invest in some sort of help with the housework, if they could afford it, and with robotic cleaners now ranging from

£120 - £500, products are rapidly becoming an affordable option. Mark Kelly, marketing manager at AppliancesDirect, said: “It’s quite apparent from the research findings that adults in the UK no longer see cleaning as a compulsory task they must carry out themselves. We know that 21st century lifestyles tend to be quite busy, but it’s interesting to see how this is impacting on the choices people make about how they spend their time.” Kelly notes a time when having an electronic device clean the house while you get on with life was a pipe dream, and as products became a reality they were often viewed as an expensive luxury. “But from our sales data and research, it seems they are becoming more commonplace,” he says. “More and more people are becoming open to the idea of investing in this kind of appliance, as they make the choice to not spend their limited free time cleaning the house, and realise just how much more economical they are than hiring regular professional cleaning help. “Britons no longer have to rely on paying out on a regular basis in order to get this assistance. The surge in sales we have seen over the past six months shows just how much demand is increasing for help that is less intrusive and more economical in the long term.”

The UK’s first Wi-Fi connected kitchen from Hoover


The launch of the Wizard range of Wi-Fi appliances is backed by a major national consumer advertising campaign. For more information, please contact your local Hoover representative or call 01685 725572 or visit








ennheiser has announced the acquisition of several business units of Professional Audio Ltd (PAL) in Ireland. The move follows a mutual agreement between Sennheiser GmbH & Co. KG and PAL, which amongst others sold Sennheiser products in the region. Sennheiser CEO Daniel Sennheiser said: “Ireland is an important market for us and we want to make sure that our customers there continue

eko has opened a new showroom in Clonee, Co Meath to mark 25 years of operation in Ireland. The company’s trade partners were formally invited to the event, which was attended by the Turkish ambassador Necip Eguz, ex-British ambassador Sir David Reddaway and Beko Commercial Director Ian Collins. Also in attendance was Beko brand ambassador, Scottish TV presenter Aggie MacKenzie, who is best known for presenting the Channel 4 series ‘How Clean Is Your House?’. MacKenzie fronts the promotional series ‘Beko’s Household Helpers’ for the brand on Ireland AM and also blogs at Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Beko UK & Ireland Teresa Arbuckle described Beko as

to be well supported. Drawing business for this territory directly into our global operation means we are able to offer the same level of service that we offer everywhere else in the world. At the same time, keeping key members of the existing team provides both consistency and familiarity.” Sennheiser employs over 300 people at its manufacturing plant in Tullamore.



amsung has said its third-quarter operating profit is expected to be in the region of KRW 7.2-7.4 trillion, a significant increase on the KRW 4.1 trillion in the same period of 2014. In an earnings guidance statement released early October, the company


said sales for the quarter are expected to reach KRW 51 trillion, against KRW 47 trillion last year. Although the business’s performance has improved in some areas, its greatest benefit is said to have been derived from exchange rates.

Freeview has embarked upon its all-time biggest advertising campaign to launch its connected TV service Freeview Play. The new TV ad ‘Set Yourself Free’ debuted early October. It is complemented by in-store, outdoor and print advertising along with digital and social activation.

West Yorkshire-based distributor Jaleno Europe has been appointed exclusive distributor for the UK market for German kitchen and household appliance brand BEEM.

Morphy Richards has delivered its first dedicated social media campaign to launch its new Redefine product range. The three-part series of 30-second videos was created to highlight the design and technology The ILVE collection of range behind the new premium range, cookers, which is imported and which includes the atomist iron, distributed in the UK exclusively a hot water dispenser, kettle and by KitchenEX, has received a toaster. Get Connected October 15 copy.pdf listing in Lewis. 1 John 22/09/2015 10:48


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115 open-water enthusiasts and beginners finished the Oxford 4k Lock to Lock river swim sponsored by home appliance brand Amica and organised by Swim Oxford Ltd. Amica linked the inaugural Oxfordshire event to its independent kitchen specialist and electrical retail customers in the immediate area.

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EPE Group has been appointed to distribute products from Remington, moving the business into the personal care market. Remington has a wide range of products in shaving, grooming and haircare.

a “global appliance powerhouse”, a global business that in the past five years has doubled its worldwide sales turnover to reach €4.5 billion with ten key brands. Pictured (left to right): Beko Product Training Development Manager Kay Ainsworth; Regional Sales Manager (NI) National Sales Lindsay McKeown; Managing Director Beko (UK & IRE) Teresa Arbuckle; Beko brand ambassador Aggie MacKenzie

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reeview has announced that, from the end of 2016, its trademark licence will only be granted for HD products and the brand will no longer appear on new SD products. From 1st January 2016, new Freeview TVs above 32 inches will need to be HD to carry the Freeview brand. The move is expected to give a major boost to sales of HD products, which

VESTEL ANDROID TV PLATFORM DUE FOR PRODUCTION Vestel has become the first ODM to adopt the Android Lollipop operating system both for its TVs and set-top boxes. The Turkish manufacturer is one of just a handful of companies to work with Google on the product development, which makes Android TV a mass market proposition. The new Vestel platform is due for imminent production, with the first run of set-top boxes scheduled to be made by the end of 2015, providing a step-up solution to maximise the home entertainment experience on viewers’ existing TVs. The Android set-top boxes and TVs are capable of displaying all available 4K content.



new report released by Deutsche Telekom states that the connected home represents both a significant opportunity and a threat to a diverse range of European businesses, and estimates that the Western European connected home market will be worth up to €12 billion annually by 2019, with a total of almost 50 million homes having installed such technology. ‘How To Create Growth From The “Many firms still Connected Home’ need to grasp the sets out how impact that the connected connected homes home will have on will have great impact across their market, on their multiple industries business and on reesat and LG Electronics have and suggests their model.” the most crucial partnered to provide the Freesat development will be service on LG’s new and existing satellitethat businesses will need enabled smart TVs. to move from “just selling” LG will launch Freesat channels on the new consumer hardware, to hardwareLF650 and LF630 TVs in screen sizes ranging from 32” to 55” and compatible with its Magic Motion Remote Control. based services, which will impact their In a first for Freesat, LG will also support the service across its models, margins and routes to markets. existing TVs. Owners of satellite-compatible sets will gain access Holger Knoepke, VP Connected Home, to over 200 subscription-free TV and radio channels via a software Deutsche Telekom, said: "We want this rollout to customers. report to be a wake up for European Commenting on the partnership, Andy Mackay, UK Commercial business. Global giants have their sights Director, LG Consumer Electronics, said: “We are committed to firmly set on our markets and the value offering people the latest technology innovations with which to that can be extracted from many diverse enjoy their favourite content, and this partnership helps us to industries, from insurance to energy, from ensure LG customers are getting access to the very best.” warranty to connectivity. The opportunity is now. Global competitors will not sit around and wait for European players to fully prepare their strategies and product development plans. "Many firms still need to grasp the impact that the connected home will have on their market, on their business and on their model. If you are a business to





last year accounted for over 70% of new Freeview TV sales in the UK. Sales of equipment with Freeview inbuilt have reached more than 100 million since the service launched in 2002. Earlier this month Freeview launched its new Freeview Play service, which combines catch-up TV, on-demand services and live television, subscription free.

consumer firm that provides products or services to consumers in their home, then be under no doubt that the connected home will impact you over the next five years. For many firms, the implications will be dramatic. We have absolutely no doubt that this will lead to the further commoditisation for many players, to the disintermediation of many others, and dramatic changes in the relationship that brands have with other brands and their route to market." The report sets out how the IoT and the technology associated with the connected home will transform the way we live in our homes: from micro-ordering of consumables to providing greater peace of mind across safety, security and insurance, to saving energy and providing a proactive response and maintenance when appliances and devices fail. Deutsche Telekom suggests that too many players will not survive without partnering, as there are not yet the industry-wide platforms or consistent standards required. “We, the connected home industry, need to abandon previous proprietary and closed approaches, or gated communities, and open up to a higher level of collaboration. In the long run, no company – or brand – can establish the connected home alone – those who think that they can, will not succeed,” it states. “To date, this market has been too focused on technology for technology's sake, and overlooked the customer and their needs,” said Knoepke. “Beyond this there needs to be greater willingness to partner to realise growth. And finally, the winners will be those that are prepared to innovate, to take risks, and be willing to lead in a nascent market.”



GMJ916NSHV – MULTI DOOR FRIDGE FREEZER LG’s Door-in-Door GMJ916NSHV fridge freezer offers the convenience of a Smart Eco Door which provides easy access to the food and drinks most often consumed.

The Door-in-Door facility requires the main refrigerator doors to be opened less often, resulting in the temperature inside the fridge being more constant, which in turn reduces energy consumption.

SMART STORAGE Keeping items in separate sealed containers is essential for maintaining the distinctive taste and aroma of each ingredient. LG’s Smart Storage System is composed of several clever features designed not only to improve accessibility and keep food fresher, but to meet the specific needs of consumers.

MULTI AIR FLOW Cool air evenly spreads into the fridge, maintaining a uniform temperature throughout. Faster cooling means that air temperature in the fridge is lowered quickly, especially after the door has been opened.

LG’S LINEAR COMPRESSOR The Linear Compressor, a core technology of LG refrigerators, is quiet and eff icient. Its unique direct transmission mechanism minimises mechanical loss, thus saving energy, increasing durability and reducing noise. LG is so confident in the durability and reliability of this technology that it provides a free 10-year warranty on the Linear Compressor.

SMART DIAGNOSIS™ LG’s Smart Diagnosis™ is a fast and easy way to troubleshoot issues with the appliance. Consumers simply make a call to the LG Customer Care Centre and use the ‘tag on’, or Smart Diagnosis™ function, which analyses the problem by sending a signal to the phone to provide a diagnosis in seconds.

TOTAL NO FROST SAY NO TO FROST, YES TO TASTE The Multi Air Flow system circulates cool air through multiple vents, ensuring efficient temperature regulation and consistent frost free operation.

BIOSHIELD™ Mould thrives in a damp environment, making a refrigerator the perfect home for it to flourish, especially over the life of the appliance, which can be more than 15 years. This is why all LG refrigerator gaskets are treated with BioShield™, a proprietary antimicrobial agent that prevents mould growth from causing gasket and seal distortion, thereby prolonging the life of the refrigerator.

PURE N FRESH Minimize your fridge odours with this unique air purification system. A fan assisted carbon deodorizer which actively forces odour filled air through the deodorizer and sends it back across three different shelving levels via the Fresh Shower ducting.








ig Red Sales marked its 6th anniversary with the charter of a luxury 57ft Sunseeker power cruiser to take its suppliers from Southampton to Lymington Marina to lunch at the Chewton Glen hotel in New Milton, Hampshire. Big Red Sales was started in the middle of the recession and, according to director and founder John Reddington, turnover and profit have increased every year: “In 2015, five of the seven calendar months have been record breaking. And with the season yet to arrive, I’m pretty confident.

Pictured (left to right): Ian Gallagher, Yamaha; Terry Harrison, Big Red Sales; Peter May, Sennheiser; John Reddington; Barry Kick, Linsar; Ross Wilmington, Otone; James Attfield, Turnstone AV

“As Big Red has just enjoyed its best ever year and is certainly on the crest of a wave, it somehow seemed appropriate to make a splash and celebrate with something a little different.”



has teamed up with John Lewis to launch a customised edition of its FH4A8TDN2BA washing machine, featuring the artwork of British designer Ben Allen. Allen created a collection of eight unique artworks for LG incorporating a selection of the core symbols which frequently appear in the wash instructions of clothing. The move followed the results of an LG survey that showed 99% of Britons fail to identify the common garment care symbols, and £2 billion worth of clothing is ruined every year in the UK. LG hopes the artworks will raise awareness of the symbols and encourage people to take the time to educate themselves on how best to care for and extend the lifetime of garments. The collaboration with Allen marked LG’s 9th season as Official Garment Care Providers to London Fashion Week.

Moves Hoover Candy UK has announced the promotion of Baumatic key account manager Paul Pickering to channel manager – electrical retail channel built-in MDA Division for Hoover, Candy and Paul Pickering Baumatic brands. His new role will focus on maximising opportunities within the CIH and Sirius buying groups and supporting the newly centralised built-in sales team with accounts in the independent electrical sector. Gorenje has promoted Stuart Benson to the role of sales director. Benson joined Gorenje early 2013 as national sales manager for the UK & Ireland



and has more than 25 years’ experience in the appliance and kitchen industry.



DA distributor Jaleno Europe won this year’s SEAMA (Small Electrical Appliance Marketing Association) annual golf day, which was held at the Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Morley, Derbyshire. The team of four triumphed with a score of 69 points. A “somewhat surprised” Jamie Lennox, managing director of Jaleno Europe, said the competition was tough, but added that he was delighted his team won, at what was a “truly superb” venue.



Stuart Benson

Piero Pracchi, Marketing Director UK & Ireland at Indesit Company, has been promoted to Senior Director, Brand & Digital Marketing [EMEA]. Fiona Hope succeeds Pracchi as Marketing Director UK & Ireland. She joins the company with strong brand and consumer experience gained from her role as Managing Director with SodaStream, following a series marketing roles within Coca-Cola.

Piero Pracchi

Pictured (left to right): SEAMA chairman Tim Wright; industry consultant Robin Sawyer; Jamie Lennox, MD of Jaleno Europe; Gareth Lennox; Lloyd Hare, Jaleno Europe sales director.

Fiona Hope

community projects fund launched by British cooking appliance brand Stoves is reported to have been inundated with entries in the first phase of the funding. The £20,000 campaign aims to place the kitchen at the heart of local communities by helping projects to transform their kitchen facilities. The first wave of applications attracted 230 nominations, from which a panel of industry experts and representatives from Stoves parent Glen Dimplex Home Appliances created a shortlist. Among the shortlisted projects are hostels and refuges for the homeless, asylum seekers and victims of domestic abuse; an organisation that reduces

loneliness for the elderly; a range of community food education projects and parent accommodation for the families of sick and premature babies. Jonathan Casley, Managing Director of GDHA, said: “Preparing and sharing food brings people together so a kitchen is often an important part of a community space; however, they can be expensive to set up and maintain. Community Kitchens was designed to help these projects and we were overwhelmed with excellent entries. “This campaign highlights just how much amazing community-based work goes on to help vulnerable, marginalised and less well-off groups of people across the UK.”




the time you read this, the first Freeview Play products will have reached the market. Freeview Play launched this October and is the next step forward for the digital TV platform. The new format combines broadcast TV with on-demand services like catch-up TV (such as BBC iPlayer). By using a new eight-day EPG, viewers will be able to scroll back seven days and access programmes from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and later on, Channel 5. It’s a system YouView viewers have had for some time, the difference being that most YouView users subscribe to the service via their broadband provider, while Freeview Play is free. It would be great if consumers who had purchased Freeview TVs or PVRs could upgrade to FreeView Play, but only Panasonic’s 2015 TV range offers this facility. For many consumers, upgrading will be via a new Blu-ray recorder or PVR with integrated Freeview Play – Humax and Manhattan are offering FreeviewPlay boxes. The Humax offering looks very interesting and includes a very flexible recording system, which should help retailers make the sale. It has three HD tuners, and Humax says that, depending on what channels are being watched, users could record up to four channels simultaneously, while viewing a fifth live channel.


When was the last time you asked a customer if he or she had an electricity supply in order to run the television they were buying? It sounds like a daft question; after all, every home has access to electricity doesn’t it? But more and more products, services and formats (like Freeview Play) rely on a fast broadband connection, and universal broadband access is far from a reality. The government keeps setting targets for a UK-wide super-fast broadband rollout – the latest has seen a target of 90% of UK premises connected by the end of this year moved to 95% by the end of 2017 – and many councils are sceptical that even this new target will be achieved... Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Aberdeen claim that we are living in a two-speed UK, with rural areas suffering. The researchers found that only 5% of people living in urban areas had broadband speeds lower than the average 6.3Mbps (at this speed, 10 music tracks could be downloaded in ten seconds, or a movie in 18 minutes), but more than half of those living in rural areas (53%) couldn’t achieve this speed. Researchers concluded that more than one million people are excluded from normal online activities.

OLED UHD TVS – HERE AT LAST It’s a good time to be in the consumer electronics business (honest!), with the arrival of Freeview Play joined by the launch of OLED Ultra High Definition (aka 4K) sets promised from companies such as LG, Samsung and Panasonic. You can be sure that other TV manufacturers will be joining them. OLED sets are slimmer and can offer better brightness and contrast than LCD sets. They also have wide viewing angles and faster refresh rates. Although OLED yield rates are improving, it’s still an expensive technology, and likely to remain so for some time yet.

As noted in my last column, more and more services are using streaming media, and for this you need a decent broadband connection. There can’t be many of us who haven’t used a service like BBC iPlayer and been occasionally frustrated by a stuttering “When was broadband connection. For many living in the the last time you countryside, that’s a asked a customer if he normal occurrence. or she had an electricity And those living in rural supply in order to run areas can also suffer from a lack of Wi-Fi the television they hotspots, poor mobile were buying?” reception and limited digital radio coverage. Who said life was grand in the countryside?

SETTING THE STANDARD We already have a digital tick standard for televisions and digital radios; well, the US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has just set one for High Dynamic Range (HDR) TVs. HDR sets use various techniques to improve brightness and contrast, but there’s no standard for the technology. The CEA says HDR-compatible video displays should support HDR signalling, metadata and processing that conforms to various industry video standards. Expect a similar initiative in Europe some time soon.





IROBOT UNVEILS CLOUDCONNECTED ROOMBA 980 The iRobot Roomba 980 is the first product in the Roomba range of robotic vacuum cleaners to be connected to the cloud, allowing consumers to control it from iRobot's new ‘Home’ app so they can set the appliance to work from any location and manage its schedule too. j

DENON DEBUTS NEW PREMIUM-CLASS NETWORK AV RECEIVER Denon’s AVR-X6200W (£1,799) claims ultimate build-quality, outstanding features and the finest in Denon audio quality. The unit supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and can be upgraded to Auro-3D. It comes equipped with the latest HDMI version including full 4K Ultra HD support and HDCP 2.2 capability on all HDMI inputs. j

Candy’s A+AA-rated CDP95380PR dishwasher with Perfect Rapid Zone technology has an additional two spray-arms on the left-hand side of the compartment which operate independently and deliver a 60% more powerful wash than conventional models in just 24 or 59 minutes. The appliance accommodates 15 place settings with capacity for 156 items across three baskets and is available in white or black. j


0151 334 2781

FISHER & PAYKEL INTRODUCES NEW RANGE OF BUILT-IN OVENS Fisher & Paykel has launched a new range of multifunction ovens with the brand’s intuitive control system. The appliances are finished in black reflective glass and stainless steel with one model offering a white finish to co-ordinate with F&P’s new ‘flat white’ refrigeration and DishDrawer™ dishwasher. The range gives consumers a wider choice of ovens, with 7 or 9 programme options and two pyrolytic models. All offer 72 litres of capacity. j

TEAC UNVEILS ENTRY-LEVEL TURNTABLE FOR VINYL FANS TEAC’s new belt-drive turntable has a built-in preamp providing line outs and a USB out for connection to almost any Hi-Fi or audio system. The USB output can also be used in conjunction with recording software to archive the user’s vinyl collection or add it to their mobile playlist. The belt-drive motor on the TN-200 reduces vibration for sweeter, more accurate sound than DJ direct-drive turntables. j




CAPLE ADDS STEAMING WATER TAPS TO APPLIANCE PORTFOLIO Caple has introduced two 3-in-1 WRAS-approved steaming water taps which supply fresh cold water, hot water and filtered 98°C steaming water. The steaming water produced by the Vapos (pictured) and Vapos Quad is supplied using a new standard of water filtration technology that provides accurate scale and pH control – great for making tea and coffee. The compact boiler has a temperature range of 50°C – 98°C and can make up to 100 cups an hour. j | 0117 938 1900

KENWOOD HIGH-PERFORMANCE BLENDERS Kenwood’s Blend-X COMPACT and Kenwood Blend-X FRESH provide users with two models that are said to outperform traditional blenders, using the brand’s MultiZone Blades to give 30% more cutting action for smooth results. The Blend-X COMPACT (pictured) has a 450W motor and a plastic goblet with 1.2-litre working capacity. j

GORENJE CONVERTACTIVE FRIDGE FREEZER Gorenje has launched a combi fridge freezer that offers the flexibility of converting the freezer compartment into a fridge to expand the storage space for fresh foodstuffs to 307 litres when required. The new A++ NRC6192TX with ConvertActive technology also incorporates a VitaLight drawer that prolongs the freshness of fruit and vegetables and Gorenje’s IonAir technology. j | 020 8247 39 80

HOTPOINT ULTIMATE COMBINATION MICROWAVE The new 33-litre Hotpoint Ultimate combination microwave offers the power of a conventional oven at the speed of a microwave and has the ability to Crisp, Steam, Grill and Defrost. It incorporates Hotpoint’s Multiwave Technology for full heat distribution, and Dynamic Technology which automatically monitors and adapts the power and cooking time to guarantee perfect results. j | 03448 240 055






lack level is the brightness of the darkest parts of a TV picture. This may sound like a contradiction in terms but most TVs cannot actually show absolute black in their pictures. The closer the approach, the better the appearance of the picture and its colours. LG’s ‘black panther’ ads for its OLED screens have lately brought attention to this aspect of viewing.


The parts of a TV picture transmitted as absolutely black should be reproduced as such. If not, the image has a washed-out appearance to some degree; TV pictures with good black rendering have depth and richness, with vivid colour and realism, well worth paying a premium for. These are difficult to define and quantify, but critical viewing of a screen which works right down to true black drives home its advantages.


A TV screen can only get as dark as its face when switched off, so it helps to view in low light, even though manufacturers go to great trouble to minimise the reflectivity of their screens. Room backlighting can help, in the form of Philips’ Ambilight or similar soft lighting behind the set. Correct adjustment (not the ‘showroom’ setting which is often the factory-set default!) is important – I’ll come back to this. Even with these things optimised, different makes, models and screen types perform in different ways. Good black performance generally equates to higher prices. ‘Blackness’ is the main factor in contrast ratio and dynamic range, the former quantifying the difference in light level between the brightest and darkest parts of the image. Do not rely on manufacturers’ figures for this though: they can be ‘massaged’ by various means, and measurement methods differ. Some setmakers quote huge figures like 1,000,000:1, though in practice 1000:1 or 1600:1 are likely real-world best ratios. In fact the human eye can only discern a range of about 1000:1.

Poor black level


Early thinscreen TVs were very bad in terms of black level. The now obsolescent plasma type was handicapped by the need to maintain each light cell in a ready-to-light state by a low-level internal discharge, though Pioneer in its Kuro type and Panasonic with its final models achieved a very good black level, better than any form of LCD display. Cathode ray tubes could provide a near-perfect black performance, perhaps not fully appreciated in their day. LCD panels cannot provide true black due to leakage of light through the crystal modulator panel, though again intensive research and development over the years has reduced this to a very low level. The blackness of LCD screens depends to some extent on the type of internal backlight used. For many years this took the form of an array of fluorescent tubes with a diffuser to give bright and even illumination with reasonable black level. As screens got slimmer, LED backlighting became the norm. Its cheapest implementation is with edge lighting, where side columns and/ or top and bottom bars of diode emitters propagate light along an optical sheet behind the screen; this could result in uneven illumination, however, especially in picture areas which should be black. Full-field LED backlighting uses a matrix of LEDs on a substrate at the back of

“With LCD TVs, the lowest tolerable backlight setting provides the darkest blacks.”



the picture panel. It’s more expensive to produce and makes for a somewhat thicker panel, but facilitates the use of selective dimming whereby the backlight strength is reduced in dark picture areas to improve black level performance. This is the most expensive LCD/LED variant. It’s not, perhaps, well known that LCD panels come in different physical forms. TV types devolve into two types, VA, Vertical Alignment, and IPS, In-Plane Switching. Of these, VA (e.g. Samsung) is claimed to give the better black performance, but there can be a trade-off against IPS types (used, for instance, in some LG models) in other aspects like response time and picture deterioration at wide viewing angles. To check the screen type fitted, refer to the manufacturer’s specification. Of all current screen types, OLED offers the best black level performance. Because there is no backlight, the colour dots and pixels remain totally black when they should, thus rendering as near perfect a picture as is currently possible. OLED is more difficult to manufacture than LCD and can have a lower production yield due to defects and consequent rejection. Of course, it is the most expensive screen technology in consumer TV, but worth it to those whose first consideration is not cost.


While ‘dynamic contrast’ and similar usermenu settings are claimed to give better perceived black level they have side-effects in terms of (e.g.) poor tonal reproduction at other brightness, contrast and colour levels overall. To avoid these it’s better to choose a screen with good ‘native’ black level and switch off this feature, selecting instead normal, or (if available) THX or ISF settings. With LCD TVs, the lowest tolerable backlight setting provides the darkest blacks. Compensate by adjusting the brightness control such that the black sections of the picture – on an off-disc or TV-internal test card or the top and bottom blanks on a letterboxed movie – just disappear into the lowest light level the screen can afford. At this point the next level up (darkest grey on a test card) should still be clearly visible.




Seasonal Cooking

Small Kitchen Appliances


Fires & Portable Heating

A selection of products for the festive quarter


The ghost of Christmas past can be laid to rest Fisher & Paykel’s new OB60 range of built-in ovens offer 72 litres of usable capacity and models with pyrolytic cleaning

According to research carried out by Panasonic in 2014, 55% of us struggle to get the timing right for each dish; 52% are flummoxed by not having enough space on the hob or in the oven, and 57% of households have had to wait up to an hour longer than planned to tuck into the meal as kitchen cockups caused delays.


For those charged with delivering the Christmas feast, and the bulk of cooking throughout the year, help is at hand, and retailers can recommend a great number of appliance options and cooking technologies to lessen the strain associated with preparing the celebratory spread. Jennifer Spragg, Digital and Brand Marketing Manager for Whirlpool, says dealers should advise consumers to invest in a large capacity oven: “This alone will give them a great head start and help them to cope with yuletide stress. Good, generous capacity ovens such

The lead up to the festive season is traditionally a busy time for MDA retailers, many of whom will pray their cup runneth over as the spirit of Christmas 2015 translates into sales of cooking appliances. GC asks a handful of manufacturers to comment on the features purchasers of such products should be drawn to, so the best part of their festive hosting can be spent with guests while they deliver a feast fit for a King


he back-to-school ritual marks a turning point in the calendar of life each year, as memories of summer holidays start to fade and the moist autumn air signals the approach of the biggest event of the year for the majority of households. And with this seasonal change comes a focus on indoor projects such as kitchen upgrades that help boost appliance sales for retailers after the summer lull, with cooking products receiving particular attention as consumers contemplate the forthcoming season of entertaining. But for many this time of jollification is blighted by apprehension, as the pressure of co-ordinating and producing the most important meal



of the year can send the best of us into a flight of panic. In fact, a survey carried out by Travelodge revealed that women even have nightmares the week prior to Christmas due to the additional stress – some of the anxiety-induced fantasies utterly bizarre and some well within the realms of possibility. Amongst the top ten imaginings were: being chased around the house by a gigantic turkey; being naked at the family Christmas meal (Ugh! emotional vulnerability packs a merciless wallop!); being attacked by a Christmas tree; burning the Christmas meal; the cooker breaking on Christmas day. And it would appear that those sleepless nights are born from experiences of Christmases past:

as Whirlpool’s 73-litre models, which take at least 9 kg/19.8lbs of poultry plus a tray of roast potatoes, certainly relieve the pressure to get all the food in the oven when needed. In addition, multi-level oven cooking is also a big boost for consumers, especially during the hectic Christmas season. It means you can cook at least three dishes on three levels at the same time without flavour transfer. “Intelligent technology, which is making leaps and bounds all the time, has already taken much of the stress out of cooking, as many ovens can more or less look after themselves once they are programmed. Automatic settings and auto-sensing features are proving a boon for cooks who are feeling the heat.

Whirlpool’s 6th Sense technology is designed to make life easier and is an integral feature of the company’s Absolute Design AKZ 618 IX built-in multifunction oven. Users simply select one of 30 preset recipes and the oven will automatically adjust the cooking, temperature and time settings, while continually monitoring dishes to ensure perfect results.” Spragg adds that pyrolytic cleaning technology is an “absolute must” for households: “Nobody deserves the fate of manually cleaning the oven during the time to be jolly. Turn on the pyrolytic and simply wipe away the ashes a little later on.” Pyrolytic ovens have had a “good run” this year and are gaining popularity, according to Spragg, and with oven cooking being a primary activity during the last quarter of the year she believes that investment in such appliances will continue: “Price points are far more accessible to a greater number of people and pyrolytic ovens are therefore an attractive time, energy and elbowgrease saver.”


“With extra mouths to feed, a large oven capacity is high on the list of priorities for the Christmas Day cook,” maintains Hotpoint Brand Communications Director Ian Moverley. “The Hotpoint Open Space oven, recently awarded a House Builder Product of the Year award, provides the internal capacity of a double oven in the same standard dimensions as a single oven, offering extra space for all the additional vegetables and trimmings. “The huge 77-litre capacity has 20% more space than a traditional single oven and can be used as one ‘Extra Large Space’ so the consumer can cook on four shelves simultaneously. The Extra Large Space also incorporates Hotpoint’s Intelligent Cooking System, which automatically sets the time and temperature and optimises the oven elements for perfect roasts, cakes or bread at the touch of a button. Alternatively, the oven can be split into two sections thanks to the handy


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insulating divider, so the consumer can cook at two different temperatures and use independent programme timers – ideal for Christmas time when meat and vegetables may require different oven temperatures.” Moverley points out that the microwave may not have previously been seen as a hero of the festive season, but the new Hotpoint Ultimate model offers the power of a conventional oven with the speed of a microwave and Dynamic technology that can automatically monitor and adapt the power and cooking time to guarantee perfect results. This technology can also be used to control the Steam & Boil and the Crisp functions. He also notes that the Ultimate microwave boasts a generous internal capacity of 33 litres, “meaning it can handle the extra pressure at Christmas time, and it also features a variety of useful programmes and recipes to save the busy family time.”

Miele’s DGM 6800 oven combines the convenience of a microwave with the quality cooking results achieved by the brand’s flagship steam ovens


“Everyone wants to be the chef that looks calm, cool and collected when serving a delicious and expertly cooked meal to family and friends, but most people will question whether this is really possible for novices,” comments V-ZUG’s Rhys Evans, Sales Director UK & Ireland. “This is why it’s essential to look for automatic features and programmes that can take out the hard work to ensure that everything is cooked to perfection.” He highlights the brand’s SoftRoasting programme, which lets the user specify the temperature of a meat joint to within one degree using the food probe to deliver the required result. “So, for instance, you could specify it to be cooked at 58°C to ensure it delivers a medium rare result. This precise cooking temperature control means that the user can be certain they will get perfect results every time. Our ovens also feature a vast range of preset recipes, developed by top international Michelin chefs such as Andreas Caminada, Tanja Grandits and Nenad Mlinarevic, which the customer can use to cook dishes at the touch of a button.”


Whirlpool’s Spragg adds that induction is another great “stress buster” that speeds up the cooking process, and adoption of the technology is becoming more 24


“…induction will continue to be the rising star”

widespread now that a range of prices are available from a variety of manufacturers. “With the superb speed, uniformity and accuracy of heating, these are incredible hobs for the preparation of festive foods. Extended, bridged and even zoneless models are the ultimate luxury – being able to place anything from a small pan for sauce-making to a ginormous fish kettle on the glass is sought after – and the ease with which they are cleaned is a considerable advantage over any other hob type and therefore induction will continue to be the rising star.” Providing an example of the flexibility of such hobs, Spragg refers to Whirlpool’s mid-market ACM 928 BA double FlexiZone model, on which the four zones can be used independently with varied temperatures or each front and corresponding rear zone linked to make two large cooking areas. 6th Sense induction technology

continuously monitors and adapts the cooking process to save time and energy and the hob automatically adjusts the power level accordingly. V-ZUG induction hobs have cooking control features which make gourmet-style results “easy and attainable,” according to Rhys Evans. “The RiceControl automatically stops the cooking process when rice is ready; the CookingControl tells you when food is ready to be added and when boiling point is reached it switches to a lower temperature for continued cooking; the TemperatureControl monitors the pan for consistent results across the bottom.”


Evans believes there’s no better time than autumn to schedule cookery demonstrations in retail stores. “It’s a great way to create a really fun and sociable atmosphere in your showroom, where you can get to know your customers and, importantly, show them how simple it is to use the latest state-of-theart appliances to create beautiful dishes.” “It may have been many years since the consumer last purchased a cooking appliance, so it is important to explain the new technology and features available on modern ovens in language the consumer is able to understand,” advises Hotpoint’s Moverley.

“Demonstrations are key, as the consumer must feel comfortable with the controllability. Having appliances plugged in for demonstrations allows the consumer to touch and feel the product, and perhaps even taste the results too. This is especially important for induction cooking, as many consumers are still completely unaware of the many benefits it offers. A quick demonstration on an induction hob is more much educational than simply explaining how it works, and can encourage homeowners to take the leap into new technology.”


The final words on the anxietyinducing Christmas cook-in come from Whirlpool’s Spragg: “Most people already have all the stress and worry they can handle. They don’t want a major headache cooking their lunch at the one time of year when they should be able to relax. “Sensor technology takes so much tiresome work out of the cook’s hands, as does pyrolytic cleaning and the many versatile wonders of induction cooking. There are a great many ways in which cooking the intimidating, largest joint of the year can be cut down to size and enjoyed without stress and strain. “Resourceful kitchen retailers who know their stuff can give a big helping hand to stressed-out consumers who get a Jack Frost-like shiver down the spine when the word Christmas is mentioned.”


Seasonal sales a

piece of cake T

he Great British Bake Off returned to TV screens in August accompanied by predictable media excitement, with one publication headlining an “annual stampede” for kitchenware as the show, which attracted 9.3 million viewers – more than two million up on last year’s opening episode – again prompted the UK public to try their hand at baking. There is little doubt that this topbilling series, which debuted in 2010, has energised sales of small kitchen appliances, and its timing – the final episodes coincide with the run up to the festive sales period – is no less than a bonus for retailers as it inspires consumers with gift ideas, particularly for those that are fans of the show. Hotpoint Brand Communications Director Ian Moverley maintains that “baking fever” is sweeping across the UK

Sales of kitchen machines are predicted to rise as “baking fever” sweeps across the nation

Sales of small kitchen appliances are a given in the fourth quarter of the year, as autumn/winter TV scheduling packed with programmes demonstrating heart-warming recipes and that oh so addictive ‘Bake Off’, which keeps gossip columnists occupied and audiences captivated, continue to bring year-on-year gains to many of the thriving categories and, in addition to consumers upgrading their baking equipment, he predicts that sales of kitchen machines will increase during the last quarter of the year as such appliances make the “ideal gift” for keen bakers. Annaliese Curtis, Category Consumer Manager for Worktop Cooking at Morphy Richards, also refers to the home baking trend, stating that it continues to grow during the Christmas period “largely thanks to The Great British Bake Off and consumers’ interest in creating seasonal bakes.” And she, too, mentions the appeal of kitchen machines, citing an 11.7% volume increase in the category.


But Hotpoint’s Moverley maintains there is another factor lifting the SKA market: “The recession is finally loosening its grip on many families and we’re seeing consumers

once again willing to treat themselves to the latest gadgets to achieve the very best results. During the run up to the festive period homeowners invest in the latest equipment that will make their life easier on Christmas Day and help them to create delicious food that will impress their family. Coffee machines are always a popular purchase during the festive period as homeowners invest in products that will enhance the entertaining experience – a delicious fresh espresso served after an evening entertaining friends and family adds a finishing touch to the night.” Moverley believes that consumers will start purchasing

appliances well before the festive period begins to ensure they’re confident with the product and certain of the results it will produce.


According to Morphy Richards, increasing year-on-year growth in SKA is due to consumers looking for multi-functional appliances that make the cooking process simpler and quicker in a busy Christmas kitchen. “In addition to this, consumers are also interested in purchasing Christmas gifts that offer cooking solutions for friends and families,” says Curtis. “As consumers start to create hearty and warming food during the colder months there is an increase in interest for easy-to-use, multifunctional products such as slow cookers, multicookers [which recorded a 68% increase in sales value over the 2014 Christmas period] and soup makers. “We expect that the slow cooker and soup maker markets will continue to grow during the Christmas period, as consumers look to create wholesome and hearty food which is

“…homeowners invest in products that will enhance the entertaining experience”




quick and easy to prepare during the busy festive season. A prevalent demand from consumers is for products that make winter and Christmas cooking convenient and hassle free.” The liquidiser category, which is made up of personal blenders and soup makers, is one of the fastest growing sectors, witnessing a 99.2% increase in terms of value year on year. Curtis says Morphy Richards has a 9% volume share of this market and several of its soup makers rank highly within the top 10 bestselling products. The brand’s personal blender products [those with portable drinks containers] are also witnessing a substantial increase in sales. According to industry analyst GfK, small kitchen appliances, which it describes as “typically gifting products”, saw a significant uplift during Black Friday last year, rising 34% in value, with hot beverage makers performing extremely well. This category, which mainly accounts for coffee machines, grew by 57% in value and 78% in volume. Deep fryers and food preparation also helped to drive value sales, up 43% and 41% respectively.

Hotpoint’s espresso machine collection is designed in partnership with illy


Dominik Pytel, Marketing Director Groupe SEB UK maintains that consumers are looking for easy and convenient SKA cooking solutions for the home, which assist in preparing healthy meals. “This is of particular importance as the festive season approaches, with people looking to balance their enjoyment of eating traditional Christmas meals with healthy accompaniments. Low-oil

Morphy Richards Sear and Stew compact slow cooker browns, sears and stews in one cooking pot

fryers provide this option and make ideal Christmas gift purchases. “The Small Appliance markets have always seen an uplift in sales in the run up to the peak Christmas season. This was certainly the case in 2014 and this year will be no different.” Commenting on how retailers can maximise fourth-quarter sales, Patel says effective in-store demonstration is “key” in securing consumer interest and generating sales. “Product knowledge is also vital. Premium brands such as Tefal heavily invest in creative merchandising point-ofsale materials and informative consumer literature to promote their product ranges, particularly those that have advanced features such as the Tefal ActiFry Express XL. Retailers should utilise manufacturerproduced sales support tools.”

WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY Tefal’s ActiFry low-oil fryer range cooks a variety of nutritious meals using just a spoonful of oil



Hotpoint’s Moverley suggests that additional offerings of small domestic appliances within a showroom help to

create a ‘destination’ for the shopper – a place for inspiration and advice that keeps them coming back for more. He points out that major domestic appliances are typically purchased once a decade, or as a distress purchase, whereas small appliances and accessories are purchased much more often: “Encouraging the consumer to come into store for gadgets and accessories helps to keep the retailer top of mind when it comes to the larger sales.” Moverley believes that small domestic appliances “open up a world of opportunity” when it comes to showroom demonstrations and events, which in turn helps to encourage consumers to purchase. “Consider hosting a local baking competition in store, giving consumers the chance to touch and feel the products, and taste the results too. This way customers will use both large and small appliances and you may convince them to trade up earlier, just in time for Christmas,” he advises. Morphy Richards’ Curtis highlights the fact that consumers are increasingly buying from online retailers, but many still visit stores to look at products before that purchase takes place: “The key to improving this buying process is to ensure that customers feel sufficiently reassured to purchase the product in-store before they leave. This can be developed by engaging with the consumer through clear POS, in-store demonstrations and helpful, knowledgeable staff.” She adds that Morphy Richards provides informative POS and creative packaging that acts as a ‘silent salesperson’: “This ensures that consumers feel knowledgeable about selecting the right products to suit their needs.”











Healthy, homemade meals, made much easier with Kenwood It’s time to say goodbye to the ready meals, and hello to tastier and healthier meals with the kCook – a cooking food processor and steamer that chops, stirs and cooks your dinner for you. The Kenwood kCook provides ‘one pot’ cooking, allowing flavoursome casseroles, fresh soups and various sauces to be prepared at the touch of a few buttons. It will even steam your vegetables and fish in the inclusive basket for an even healthier family meal. With the choice of two bowl tools, ingredients can be chopped to the desired texture before switching to the stirring tool to ensure the dish is cooked evenly.

For Meal Preparation recipes visit:

Access to the




UHD revolution Panasonic’s ALL30T speakerboard completes the home cinema experience

Sales of UHD TVs are gaining strength in the UK, content is coming, and big screen sizes and sound projection devices are helping to drive the TV/AV market as consumers look for a more immersive home cinema experience


he increase in sales volumes and turnover enjoyed by the Consumer Electronics market during 2014 and into the New Year was spread generously around a diverse range of products. Apart from the continuing increase for soundbars, there was a welcome uplift for TVs, while Hi-Fi and other audio also enjoyed a good year. According to GfK, TVs accounted for well over half of CE turnover during this period, with 6% value and 4% volume growth, driven by the FIFA World Cup in summer and Black Friday in November. Most volume sales and virtually all market turnover now come from screen sizes above 32 inches, and most of these larger screens are Smart TVs, which GfK consumer research suggests are now being connected much more frequently. At the same time, 4K became established more quickly than anticipated, accounting for well over 200,000 units by the end of January 2015 and more than doubling



original forecasts. And as GfK points out, “not for the first time, a welcome innovation was made even more seductive by significant price cuts from the outset.” Average price fell from well over £3000 at the start of 2014 to just over £1000 at the end of the year, even though the average screen size was 50 inches.


As GC’s consumer guru George Cole recently pointed out, developments in TV technology have not only made sets thinner, brighter, sharper and lighter, they have also transformed screen design. Older flat TVs had large bezels surrounding the display screen, but now many sets have almost eliminated the bezel. Today, the bezel is typically around 5mm in size, or roughly ten times smaller than those found on sets barely a decade old. The result is a bigger screen and a more immersive viewing experience for the consumer.

“Don’t let anyone tell you content isn’t there. It most definitely is”

“But as TV sets get slimmer and bezels become narrower, finding the physical space for fitting speakers large enough to provide good quality TV sound is getting harder,” said Cole. “This is particularly so for bass sound, which requires large woofers or a sub-woofer to provide a good low frequency response. “In the past, home cinema fans wanting to improve TV sound quality or hear surround-sound effects only had one option – a surround sound system connected to the set. But not every consumer wants to install six or eight speakers (depending on whether it is a 5.1- or 7.1-channel system). Others simply don’t have the space in the listening room to accommodate so many speakers.”


The good news for consumers and retailers is that there are a number of sound alternatives between settling for the standard TV’s audio system or purchasing a full-blown surround-

sound system. For example: Loewe’s new Reference 4K UHD TVs are accompanied by excellent sound quality delivered via a built-in soundbar, with eight internal speakers driven by 120 Watts of amplification, and LG’s new generation of multi-purpose Smart Hi-Fi products will not only play music around the house, but also double up as a surround sound system for the TV – the Music Flow range of products connects via the Wi-Fi in the home and allows various speakers, soundbars and Blu-ray players to connect wirelessly. And from Yamaha comes the YSP-5600 soundbar, part of the brand’s MusicCast range. The unit is the first on the market with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support utilising Yamaha’s sound beam technology.


Yamaha has had an extensive number of successful launches into totally new areas throughout its years. In 1986 it unveiled the world’s first home cinema surround processor, the DSP-1, which sparked the birth of AV Receivers and paved the way for home cinema as we know it today. And in 2004, the illustrious brand introduced the YSP-1, the world’s first incarnation of the modern soundbar.



ut it is 2003 we turn our attention to, when Yamaha brought the MusicCAST network audio system to market. MusicCAST was all about enjoying network-stored media around the home. Speakers and amplifiers were part of the line-up and were easily installed using WiFi and cabled connections. Fast forward to 2015 and the next generation of the MusicCast brand has arrived. This time, with an exciting new twist on the concept of network audio and how easy it should be to stream not only music collections, but all audio in the home.

A STAR IS REBORN MusicCast comprises in excess of 20 products to fit individuals’ lifestyles and the system goes way beyond their music collections. It’s not just about playing music off a NAS drive or songs on a smart device – there is so much more that can be done!

With MusicCast, users can send the audio stream from a connection such as the HDMI port on their soundbar to a wireless speaker, or simply send a DAB radio broadcast from their lifestyle system to their soundbase. Any input on any MusicCast device can be shared to any other MusicCast device. Let’s take the humble AV Receiver as an example: this is no longer just a Home Cinema powerhouse, it’s a network hub with audio-sharing capabilities. Every device in the MusicCast eco system will feature WiFi, Airplay and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth on each product will be able to support incoming signals from a smart device but can also output a Bluetooth signal to a pair of headphones or a wireless Bluetooth speaker, for example. This means the system can expand far beyond just Yamaha product if needed. Hi-Res audio is also supported across the range. All MusicCast products will support Hi-Res audio such as 192/24 FLAC, WAV and AIFF as well as 96/24 ALAC, and some of the higher-end products will support DSD up to 5.6MHz too.

HOW DOES IT ALL HANG TOGETHER? Via the MusicCast controller app which is free to download for Android and iOS devices. This is really quite simple to use: one tap to select the room, one tap to select the source and, if required, another tap to select the audio. Users can link rooms together, adjust the settings for each room, control master volumes, view album art… It’s slick and intuitive, which is exactly what an app should be, and it has all been designed, developed and implemented in-house by Yamaha. A great list of extra features will be added over time, so users can expect updates on a regular basis.

AND THERE’S MORE… Potentially the most exciting product to come out of Yamaha’s engineering lab is the new flagship YSP-5600 soundbar, a slim and tall unit that lends itself extremely well to custom install. Wall mounting is easy with an optional bracket and a subwoofer will be included in the package if desired. Importantly, the YSP-5600 will be the first soundbar on the market with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support utilising Yamaha’s sound beam technology, making it a really interesting proposition to those that want object-based audio but do not want separates. 

For further information on Yamaha and MusicCast, please contact the team on 01908 366 700 or email





Another notable in the TV market is that 200,000 UHD screens were sold in the UK in 2014, up from 62,000 in 2013, but the increasing number has again been stimulated by a dramatic fall in prices (More on this to come later). GfK’s advice to retailers is to look specifically at UHD and focus on value rather than volume. Screen sizes of 60 inches and above accounted for 62% of the value of UHD sales in December 2014, according to the analyst. The SES-hosted UHD conference in London at the end of September provided views from a number of industry experts on the introduction of Ultra High Definition to the television market. Opening the conference, journalist and industry analyst Chris Forrester said that UHD had taken “huge” steps forward over the past six months and cited UHD channels in China, Europe (France, Germany and the UK), Japan, Korea, India and the USA. He also said that SES, from its 19.2ºEast position, was transmitting several UHD channels and what made these channels so interesting was that they were not from the pay-TV community, where it was thought the first move into UHD would be made. “The momentum is building,” he commented. “All of these channels are finding content. Don’t let anyone tell you content isn’t there. It most definitely is.”


Philips Fidelio soundbar and speakers

During the panel session ‘4K: Now or wait?’, David ‘Klaf’ Klafkowski, managing director of The Farm, one of the world’s busiest post-production houses currently handling TV series such as Downton Abbey, Jekyll & Hyde and Dr Foster, said that all had been captured and posted in 4K but not delivered in UHD. He added that there is now a genuine push to drive the High Dynamic Range, and the combination of large panels, more pixels and greater content is very compelling. Another panel member, Thomas Wrede, VP Reception Systems at SES, said he envisaged there would be more than a thousand Ultra HD channels by 2025 and those being carried by satellite in Europe would number 225. He also noted that the first commercial 24/7 UHD channels were being carried by SES and said he expected that more would be announced shortly. Satellite had ample bandwidth, he commented, and two UHD channels could be carried on one transponder: “It is an efficient means of delivery.” When asked if the BBC would introduce a UHD premium through an extra licence fee, as it had with colour television, Andy Quested, Head of Technology at the BBC, said this would not happen, as in his opinion, people would not want to pay more for quality.

GfK’s Nick Simon gave an overview of the latest sales statistics together with expectations of how the market will develop. In 2014, televisions of 50 inches and above accounted for just over a quarter of market value, while in 2015, sales have already exceeded a third of market value (36%) with a quarter of the trading year remaining. According to Simon, one of the main drivers is affordability, as the cost of UHD TVs is rapidly decreasing. In September 2014 a 55-inch set was around £1600, he said, and in 2015 a 48-inch set was selling for less than a thousand pounds – £976. He added that current sales have topped half a million three-quarters of the way through the year and he expects sales to reach the 3-million GfK’s Nick Simon speaking at the UHD conference mark in 2017. 30


Stephan Heimbecher, Head of Innovations & Standards, Sky Deutschland, said he believes that HDR is the “magic ingredient” that will help UHD to fly and become a great success.


Ian Lowe, Senior Manger EMEA Imaging, Dolby Labs, noted that 6th October would see the launch of the first Dolby Vision television, and confirmed that Warner Bros and Sony will release content in Dolby Vision, while VUDU has been confirmed as the company’s first partner to stream Dolby Vision content to the home. Dolby Vision allows 40 times more brightness than current standards and Lowe said that, as monitors improve, Dolby Vision will be capable of delivering up to 100 times more brightness than is currently possible.


Only a handful of countries are currently offering UHD services but Thierry Fautier, VP Video Strategy of Harmonic, said this position would change dramatically during Phase 2 (2017-18) and would ensure that the market transformed from the current niche status to mass market. Supporting this, he cited research carried out by Texas-based Parks Associates, which estimates that in excess of 40 million homes in the US will subscribe to 4K Pay-TV services by 2018. Thierry Fautier and his fellow panellists Eric Achtmann, Co-Founder of V-Nova; Richard LindsayDavies, CEO, DTG; and Thomas Wrede of SES agreed unanimously that much

more needed to be done to educate the consumer and to shape their experience. Richard Lindsay-Davies said that, as this year unfolded, DTG would be working much more closely with retailers to ensure they were thoroughly briefed on the benefits of new displays, including the exciting prospects for UHD. Chris Johns, Chief Engineer, Broadcast Strategy, Sky, said there has to be a step change for UHD to be successful, a combination of various elements including better pixels, higher dynamic range and colour depth, all of which then have to translate into production, studio workflows and distribution. He went on to emphasise the importance of adopted standards that would help allay any confusion. Sky tested HD for three years before putting it into the market place. Johns confirmed that Sky had been testing UHD for some time: “We want to make sure we know how to do it. We want to give viewers a ‘wow’ experience.” Members of the retail panel – Howard Saycell, CEO of retra; Rob Taylor, Home Entertainment Product Manager for LG; Peter Skyes, Strategic Technology Development Manager, Sony Professional; and John Adam, Head of Business Development & Industrial Affairs at Samsung – called for more training for people on the shop-floor selling UHD products, and John Adam strongly recommended that the Digital Europe logo be used and recognised for the benefits it encompasses. In his closing remarks, Chris Forrester informed conference that Freesat, in partnership with SES, will launch a private UHD demonstration channel and are working with retailers to showcase 4K content in their stores, so customers can experience the remarkable quality.


Pick of the season The motivation for consumers to get their homes in order for the festive season coupled with Christmas gifting and entertaining provides retailers a great opportunity to make the most of a certain lift in consumer spending. Here we feature a range of products that manufacturers and suppliers are promoting as their “Pick of the Season” for 2015.

The ultimate home entertainment experience from Loewe Loewe’s new Reference 75 and Reference 85 4K UHD TVs (75in and 85in screens respectively) sport surrounds in a choice of Aluminium Black, Aluminium Silver, High-Gloss White and hand-applied Dark Gold. The 4K Ultra HD picture is accompanied by excellent sound quality delivered via a built-in soundbar, with eight internal speakers driven by 120 watts of amplification.  Anti-reflective, high-contrast glass filter panel  Built-in 1TB hard drive  Media server and client functionality shares content with other Loewe TVs  Remote recording smartphone app and ‘second screening’ tablet app  Bluetooth audio streaming and DLNA connectivity  Built-in Dolby/DTS decoder

Braun IdentityCollection

Building the perfect cooking space

Braun has expanded its food preparation range with the launch of the IdentityCollection. Engineered with design and functionality in mind, the IdentityCollection includes the premium Braun IdentityCollection Jug Blender which has a powerful 1000W motor, providing consumers with quick and even results.

The innovative VW600 fully integrated grill drawer from CDA is the perfect accompaniment to kitchen design. It grills food perfectly using the thermostatically limited and timer controlled drawer, so consumers are free to use their main oven simultaneously. Pair with a CDA compact VK700 steam oven to create the ultimate healthy cooking combination, preserving the nutrients in food and taking care of the whole family.

The premium jug blender features a Thermo Resist glass goblet, 11 manual speed options and a pulse function. Intelligent pre-set programmes include soup, smoothie and ice crush. The specially angled jug and unique positioning of the blades also provide optimum blending results. Perfect for those seeking to impress at Christmas – whether as an affordable gift or for creating their own stylish and delicious cuisine. Braun IdentityCollection Jug Blender JB5160 (RRP: £99.99) 0239 239 2392

Consumers can build the perfect cooking space by combining CDA compact appliances, from a combination microwave or warming drawer to a fully automatic coffee machine.

The latest range is available to view on our website at:




The healthy way to cook The De’Longhi Multifry is designed to make cooking easier and healthier, expanding far beyond French fries to give consumers a healthier way of cooking anything from stews to pies, pizzas, healthy curries and cake. The Multifry features an advanced 3-in-1 multicooker with an innovative Surround Heating System, which guarantees excellent cooking performance. It uses 99.5% less oil than a traditional fryer and has a large capacity, allowing consumers to cook up to 1.7kg of potatoes in just 14ml of oil, equivalent to only 2.3% fat. 02392 392555

New chest freezers from Lec Refrigeration specialist Lec has launched two new chest freezers in response to consumer demand. The four-star rated Lec CF61LW is a compact freestanding chest freezer measuring just 50cm wide, offering the convenience of a chest design with the dimensions of an under-counter model and a generous freezing capacity of 61 litres. The CF61LW has a well thought-out design, with a counterbalanced lid that will stay safely in place whilst the user reaches into the freezer. For those looking for something larger, the Lec CF420L offers an unrivalled 420 litres of freezing capacity, with the same features as the CF61LW but bags of extra space. Both models are available in white and are A+ energy rated.

The power of red efbe-schott is pleased to announce the arrival of further great value products for the upcoming quarter. The SV 5R StickVac Pro 3000 is a rechargeable stick vac for upright and handheld use, featuring a floor brush with class-leading 3000rpm brush bar spin, which guarantees consistent cleaning. With a smart Ni-Mh power pack and best-in-class overall weight of just 2.3kgs, it’s a fabulous addition to our line-up of ultra-light vacuum cleaners. The SW 5R SweepEasy is a very effective carpet sweeper, rechargeable for maximum convenience and with additional wipe-while-you-sweep microfibre cloth pad, making this special sweeper, well, special. Along with the SV 3R Light & Easy Duo, these three 2015 red vacs offer superlative value and performance.

0844 248 4149

Denon debuts full digital Network Stereo Receiver This new addition to Denon’s recently introduced Design Series, the DRA100 Network Stereo Receiver (£799), has been created for serious Hi-Fi listeners looking for a compact and high quality design. It features next-generation music playback options including built-in Wi-Fi for high resolution music streaming, AirPlay, Bluetooth and a host of digital and analogue inputs. The 70W into 4 ohms full digital power amplifier delivers powerful and detailed sound.

Managing Director Tony Goldenfeld comments: “Here at efbe we aim to deliver great products for our customers, and these great additions in our efbe red range are no exception. The pricing is attractive for trade and consumer alike. We’d like to think we’ve brought the enjoyment back to cleaning." All items now in stock. 0121 693 1959




Dimplex Figaro freestanding suite with Optiflame® log fire

especially with products from trusted brands like Creda, which has just launched a new collection of portable heaters that includes plug-in radiators, fan heaters and convectors. “Retailers should look for products that offer reliability, durability and high performance at a price point to meet consumer demand.”


With year-round appeal, more realistic flame effects and no shortage of demand from homeowners, focal point fires continue to create sales opportunities for electrical retailers, as do portable heaters


here is more to a focal point fire than you might expect,” says Chris Stammers, marketing director at Dimplex, who notes that continued demand for electric fires can open doors and drive profit for retailers. Stammers quotes GfK figures showing a 16% increase in sales of electric fires by volume (3% by value) in the year ending March 2015 – a good period to look at, as it covers the full autumn/winter sales cycle and balances out any effect that Black Friday 2014 may have had on early 2015 sales.

“So many of today’s appliances are subject to intense competition and the vagaries of fashion,” comments Stammers. “From coffee machines to tablets, 3D TVs to juicers, consumer trends are often the driver behind luxury purchases and sales prospects for these appliances wax and wane accordingly. However, people will always feel the cold, which means fires will always be a sure bet when it comes to sales, and this is reflected in GfK’s figures, which show an encouraging uplift in sales of electric fires.”



For retailers, it is important to understand the changing trends within the markets they operate, and as Stammers points out, the same research shows some interesting insights into purchases of electric fires. Sales in electric stoves grew 8% in volume and 9% value, and sales of electric wall fires increased by a “whopping” 45% in volume and 54% in value. Inset fires, for so long the mainstay of the market, have declined slightly in appeal on the high street, but continue to perform within independent stores, where higher value products sell well. 34


Phil Chilton, product manager for the Creda heating brand, notes a similar story in the portable heaters market. He comments: “Like fires, design trends may come and go, but the underlying need for heating products will remain, even in milder winters like we have seen in recent years. “GfK figures show that sales by value of portable heating products have stayed stable in the year ending March 2015 but, interestingly, sales by volume are up 10%, despite the mild winter. “There is a clear opportunity for electrical retailers to drive sales in this category,

Fires display at Beacon Electrical

South West retailer Beacon Electrical, which has five stores in the Plymouth and South Devon area, has Dimplex electric fires on display in all outlets, but it was the decision to convert a TV demonstration room to a dedicated fires showroom in the Totnes branch that really made an impact with customers. The showroom offers a destination for home improvers and renovators, with up to 18 electric fires from the Dimplex Optiflame and Opti-myst collections on display in a single room where lighting can be controlled to maximise the effects. Director Mark Higgins said: “The room above our Totnes branch had been used to demonstrate home theatre equipment and 3D televisions, but as demand for brown goods fell, the demo room was no longer proving its worth. “We moved our electric fires display and it has really helped to raise the profile of the category. Customers can focus their attention on the choice of fires; we can control the conditions of the room to show off the products, and it has become a far more profitable space as a result.”

The highlight of the Dimplex collection is the Opti-myst effect, which Dimplex claims is the world’s most realistic 3D flame effect as it creates the illusion of real flames and smoke. “For me,” said Higgins, “the Dimplex Opti-myst effect has reignited the electric fires market. It’s a premium product which not only offers unrivalled realism in the home, but also gives us eye-catching product which we can use to grab attention in window displays.”

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Get Connected Magazine - October 2015  

4 Editorial Comment 6 The Word In and around the industry 17 George Cole Gets Connected When was the last time you asked a customer if he or...