[IFA 2018] 8K, voice control, AI-powered appliances sum up IFA 2018

By Song Su-hyun

LG’s 8K OLED TV does not seem ready for commercialization, while Samsung successfully promoted its 8K upscaling technology

  • Published : Sept 2, 2018 - 17:29
  • Updated : Sept 2, 2018 - 17:29

BERLIN -- The keywords for the IFA 2018, the biggest trade show for consumer electronics running through Wednesday, are 8K-resolution TV, voice control and artificial intelligence-based home appliances.

For the first three days of this year’s IFA show in Berlin, tens of thousands of visitors -- including officials from leading technology companies, product buyers and industry analysts -- focused their attention on the latest trends centering on AI.

The TV industry embarked on new competition for 8K resolution as major TV makers showcased their first 8K TVs. 

Visitors stroll around Samsung Electronics’ booth at the IFA 2018 in Berlin on Friday. (Samsung Electronics)

Asian TV manufacturers -- Samsung, LG, Sharp and TCL -- jumped into the race for the highest resolution by exhibiting 8K products for the first time.

LG’s 8K organic light-emitting diode TV was in the spotlight from the beginning of the show due to a technical error found in its showcase product Thursday, a day before the exhibition kicked off.

On the first day of the IFA, the LG 8K OLED TV could not be switched on and was removed from the exhibition venue, disappointing visitors who came to see the new TV technology.

LG said the 8K OLED TV was unpresentable, citing some issues with its customers.

However, according to the industry, a defect in the board was detected, so the company had to suddenly replace the board with a new one all the way from Korea.

“As it uses more self-emissive diodes, the density of the diodes on the board is very high, which requires immense intricacy otherwise it is prone to errors,” said an industry insider. “The incident raises questions about whether the 8K OLED TV is ready for commercialization.”

On the second day of the exhibition, the 8K OLED TV was back on display, but it did not meet expectations again because it was only able to display still images on-screen instead of videos.

“Since 8K content does not exist yet, we experienced limits in demonstrating the exhibited 8K TV,” an LG official said. “Many in the industry say it is still too early to launch 8K TVs, and we are considering mass production next year.”

In rivalry with LG’s 8K OLED TV, Samsung’s quantum-dot light-emitting diode 8K TV was showcased with its proprietary upscaling technology that upgrades content of any quality to 8K.

Samsung QLED 8K TVs are expected to be mass-produced within the year, according to the industry.

In the field of AI, aggressive expansion by Google and Amazon in the home appliance sector was witnessed, as manufacturers came up with products that can be voice-controlled via Google Assistant or Alexa.

“The number of AI-powered appliances rapidly increased in the last one year, led by Google and Amazon,” an industry analyst said. “They are on the right track to expand the AI ecosystem.”

LG was one of those that featured the Google Assistant in an array of products, from TVs and air conditioners to washing machines and kitchen appliances.

Miele, the No. 1 German home appliance maker, showcased the Amazon Echo Show, a display-type speaker that is able to control and monitor the company’s newest dishwasher, the G7000.

The G7000 features PowerDisk and AutoDos technologies that allow it to automatically dispense detergent from a disk inside the dishwasher as a sensor detects the amount of dishes put in for cleaning. When the detergent runs out, a new package of detergent is automatically ordered from Miele stores.

Top officials of Samsung’s consumer electronics division visited the Miele booth several times Friday to check out the latest dishwasher.

Lee Jae-seung, vice president of the consumer electronics business, met with Miele’s chief technology officer to find out details of the PowerDisk technology.

“We can also consider applying the technology to our dishwashers in addition to the current application for washing machines,” Lee said. “Samsung could work together with Miele for such technological innovation.” 

By Song Su-hyun, The Korea Herald correspondent (