More Hope Than Skepticism for UHD 4K TVs
Some CE dealers and industry pundits fear that the inexpensive UHD 4K TVs Chinese manufacturers are releasing into the market will quickly erode whatever premium prices they hoped brand-named sets would generate.
Those fears are legitimate, considering the history of TV pricing and the industry's collective race to zero. Seiki, for example just launched a $1,400 50-inch barebones model, while Marvel Digital Group CEO Dr. Herbert Lee recently told Dealerscope the company would flood the market with UHD 4K TVs by the end of the year.
But many dealers and industry leaders we spoke with during the past two weeks said the low-priced sets from third-tier manufacturers would have minimum impact on the price of brand-named sets. Some even say that carrying the low-priced models on their show floors will help them sell more expensive, fuller-feature sets. But whatever tier brand hits the market independent CE retailers said their ultimate sales goal is to move UHD 4K sets by the top manufacturers.
"I honestly don't think that the customer will look at a less expensive product unless you can show that it has the same picture quality (as a higher-priced set)," said Abe Yazdian, director of operations for the 18-store Electronic Express chain based in Tennessee. "Besides, who ever heard of Seiki?"
Here's the first of our two-part online report on the new UHD 4K TV market. See the June issue of Dealerscope for the entire story.
Yazdian, for one one, is hot on the new TVs. Like many dealers, he said the category will breathe some fresh air into a stagnant TV market that's constantly dragged down by ever-decreasing margins.
Electronic Express held a special event Sunday to promote and mark the general release of Sony's new 55- ($4,999) and 65-inch ($6,999) UHD TVs. The retailer sold about three of them during the event, but expects to sell more as word of the technology spreads. Yazdian praised Sony for providing his company with solid training, attractive displays and 36-month customer financing. "The technology and the financing is what sells it," Yazdian said.