Yesterday we banged on at length about a trend towards building more stuff into TVs over 2009, I believe there's also going to be a minor trend towards taking things out as well! In other words, there seems to be more and more interest from manufacturers in taking tuners and AV connections out of the TV screen and putting them instead into external tuner/switching boxes.
Pioneer has already done this with its KRP-500A and KRP-600A plasma screens, as has Philips with its recently reviewed Essence wall-hanging TV. To give you just a few other examples, Sony's about to do the same thing with its 40ZX1 TV, too; Hitachi's external tuner boxes for its Ultra-Thin TVs are due any moment; and JVC has a new external tuner box TV, the 42WX70, due to launch in March.
The reasons for using external boxes are numerous. For starters, they've historically been connected with delivering slightly better AV quality than tuners and connections built into the screen. This certainly seems to be a big motivation for Pioneer with its KRP models.
Taking the connections and tuner out of the screen also makes sense for people wanting to hang their TVs on the wall, since it means that they only have one video/audio cable running into the TV rather than a whole cluster of the horrible things.
The upcoming JVC model we mentioned, meanwhile, introduces a new twist to external boxes, since it uses the idea to let you customise your TV's functionality. For JVC is promising to have a whole series of different external multimedia box options, offering everything from Blu-ray playback to built-in PVRs, DVD decks and so on. You just pick the multimedia box option that best suits your specific needs.
Finally, of course, taking out the connections and especially the tuner allows TVs to become much slimmer. And slimness, of course, is destined to be the single most defining trend regarding TV form in 2009.