Sony have done a delightfully cheesy Australia centric advertising campaign for their new $8499 65 inch Television that features the wish fulfilment of an outback girl getting an ice cream van finally to her isolated property via the magic of 4K resolution.

"The Australian" on Sony's marketing

Sony Australia 4K advert

Sadly neither the ice cream or the immediate promise of the image demonstrated will actually arrive at the homesteads door … at this time one is no more able to deliver regular 4k content to the screen than the TV can deliver a real ice cream to the young lady …

Should one feel sorry for the early adopters who have purchased the $16000 LG 84 inch LCD TV or the Sony $23000 video projectors? ... well no. In truth if they have the sort of money to burn on new tech video displays of that nature the sympathy they deserve is of that person who has been swayed by the 4K Spiderman demo doing the rounds and who has perhaps been nudged by the ever enthusiastic representation of the golden sales boys of CE.

I gather that the first sale of an LG 84 inch TV in Australia was rather spoiled as a red carpet event by the customer failing to turn up. Apparently there was a besuited management handover of the proud new product and the client got cold feet, leaving the execs bereft and embarrassed with journos present and no customer. One suspects that this may turn out to be something of an allegory for the formats introduction.

Already the US trade publications are bemoaning the release of sub $1000 large screen 4K panels from the Chinese manufacturers before the retailers in America have had a chance to gain profit traction from selling Sony and other brands with the same features at higher price points.

"Dealerscope" on Seiki 4K TVs

"Engadget" on the TCL 50 inch 4K TVs

It is apparent that lead times for new panel tech release by tier two manufacturers have been whittled to weeks rather than years. In other words whereas five years ago it would have taken the Chinese manufacturers two years to emulate a new screen technology produced by a Japanese major. Now those companies such as Changhong and Hisense are literally only weeks behind into the market place with tech equivalent to the existing tier one brands.

Whereas five years ago Samsung and LG were the wake followers they are now firmly in the top dog of new tech release and are themselves having their heels snapped by the up and coming Chinese brands that are supported by a suddenly matured home marketplace.

My personal favourite in the new technology TV stakes is actually the new LG OLED screens that are just now being released in the US market at about $15K; wether these carbon fibre backed 4mm curved screens will be a commercial success is frankly doubtful, but one must salute the technological innovation.

LG US website for the OLED 55 inch

Presumably the next tsunami of electronics manufacturing is going to come from India and Indonesia as the Korean and Chinese wave crests …

Meanwhile back in my real world of purveying Hi Fi to people in Melbourne I was enormously gratified to have occasion to visit a local company Dex Audio and to find in one corner of their factory in Kensington a veritable niche of a format presumed extinct but still being manufactured carefully in the West. Yes, Dex Audio make cassette tapes and have a steady demand for them amongst local studios to release their music to a retro hungry audience.

Dex Audio Cassettes

In an even more retro tech there is some excellent indigenous music that is being recorded on Edison wax cylinders to recapture the sense of some of the original early twentieth century recordings of sadly now extinct aboriginal music.

In 1903 Fanny Cochrane Smith made the first and last recordings of Tasmanian indigenous music on Edison wax cylinder recording machines, two musicians are acquiring this same technology in order to revive the sense of Fanny’s original recording. They will be making songs inspired by Fanny on Edison recorders that are they will then release as part of a project called the Spirit of Things: Sound of Objects and it is the work of Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs, who together make up the soulful music duo the Stiff Gins.

Fanny Cochrane Smith

Fanny Cochrane Smith singing in 1903 from the Australian Government archives

Radio National on The Spirit of Things