January 11, 2018
LAS VEGAS — With a new president, the UHD Alliance came to CES 2018 with a new directive.
Industry veteran Mike Fidler started in July 2017 with a mission to move the organization beyond technical efforts and grow its marketing activities.
For an organization of companies with disparate interests, the key, Fidler said, is “how do we come up with some consistency in messaging?”
The UHD Alliance aims to come to some industry consensus to give the press and consumers a clearinghouse for information and “to give some confidence to the marketplace as well,” he said.
To gauge consumer pain points, the UHD Alliance looked at negative experiences on the popular AVS Forum website. The Alliance found that 31% of such experiences involved picture quality, 21% peripherals and 18% the content itself.
“We want to make sure we are proactive, instead of reactive,” Fidler said.
To that end, the Alliance in late July formed a new Interoperability Working Group, headed up by Sony’s Don Eklund. The group looks at how the different manufacturers’ products work with each other in part by literally plugging them together, via “plug fests.” The aim is to make sure that when consumers set up their systems, they work and provide the best quality possible.
“For consumers, their expectation is plug and play,” Fidler said. “We want to make sure consumers get the full experience.”
Manufacturers can remedy pain points with flyers in boxes or firmware upgrades.
On the educational and informational front, the Alliance has a new brochure and in October launched a website, experienceUHD.com. Also on tap are five educational videos due in the coming weeks.
In talking to consumers the key is to avoid intimidating terms such as “nits” and “specs,” but to focus on the experience, Fidler said.
“Consumers have to understand what the values are, what the benefits are,” he said.
Fidler is also looking to work with the other trade organizations, such as the Blu-ray Disc Association and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, to “make sure we talk the same language” and share resources, he said.
Meanwhile, the UHD Alliance continues to expand. The group added five new members in the last three months: ASUS, Chroma ATE, Google, Synaptics and Arcadian Technologies.
The new members indicate “a broadening of the ecosystem,” he noted.
“That’s always a good sign,” he said.
The Alliance also continues to certify products and software with its Premium logo via independent labs.