EXCLUSIVE: SES Ultra HD Conference 2019 Review (Part 3)

The ultra HD supply chain came together at this year’s SES Ultra HD Conference at the techUK offices in Lonon to discuss the market, content availability and the challenges of educating consumers…

‘Show people what they need in their homes’

In an exclusive interview, Mike Chandler, Managing Director, SES Astra GB (above, right) , and Thomas Wrede, VP News Technology and Standards, SES (above, left), talk to Jack Cheeseman about their thoughts on 8K and the role of retailers to get consumers involved.


Q: What’s the latest in the market at the moment?

Mike Chandler: Firstly I think the realisation of HDR and how good that can be as it’s really coming into its own with sports and things like that. There are some challenges, like ‘how do we monetise the channels for the broadcasters?’ because when you bring in the UHD channel it’s going to cost more money with all the extra transmission and production costs.

Thomas Wrede: One key thing is the development of flat screen manufacturers coming up with 8K screens so that motivated myself and my team to engage with industry to do some trials in 8K, to demonstrate that satellite is, and remains, the ideal infrastructure.

We have also been looking at 8K and 4K and further testing with HDR supporting some of the system vendors like Samsung, Panasonic, with HDR10+, Dolby, with Dolby Vision, we are testing the various formats on satellite and we have a good internal picture of how these HDR technologies work. How they will be or can be implemented on satellite, that is for our customers to decide which technology to use.

Q: How are you finding the TV market in general is fairing?

Pictured: ERT Editor, Jack Cheeseman, with Mike Chandler and Thomas Wrede

MC: A lot of people now have much smaller households and younger people are living in flats; they’ve maybe got a PC with a big screen, they’re probably using that more than a second television set – it’s just the way things are going because of space, pressure, cost and everything. I think if retailers can either partner up or bring in their own fully customised installation service, that has to be the way to go.

TW: I agree. The retailer has to have a top-notch demonstration of these technologies in the showroom – but it’s not enough to just put a few screens on the wall and just put them at factory settings. They also need to educate the consumer about the products, the right viewing distance, the setup environment in the home. If I was a retailer, I would have a little demo room to demonstrate how the overall audio-visual experience could be leveraged with such a purchase.

MC: I think HDR is a big thing that if a retailer is going to demonstrate something make sure it’s HDR because that really does cut through and make a difference. I mean, I’ve seen people demonstrate TVs without even switching them on! This was years ago, mind you.

I always think it’s best to show people what they could get for a bit more of their budget, so start them off at more than what they wanted to spend, bring them down to their budget level and most often they’ll retreat and spend more because they don’t like to leave the shop and lose out.

Q: How can retailers keep up with all the developments in this sector?

MC: I think training is always good; Retra always says “better training leads to more sales,” and I think it’s absolutely right. Not just in terms of product knowledge, but also how store staff approach customers, it makes all the difference.

Retailers have to navigate their way through such large product ranges in order to help consumers do the same; when there are too many options presented, people tend to switch off because they become slightly confused.