By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: What are the prospects for Windows 8 and OLED/Ultra HD TVs for this year?
Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing: Windows 8 is clearly optimized for touch capabilities. Therefore, as more touch products become available over the course of the year, we expect to see a lift in activity with Windows 8 as that curve moves upward.
Regarding Ultra HD, we are expecting [the technology] to drive interest starting in Q2, with early units becoming available around that time. Price points will be high and therefore not as affordable for the average consumer until later in the year.
Warren Chaiken, Almo: As with all new technologies, OLED carries a higher than average price point and will appeal mostly to early adopters with a fair amount of discretionary income. I believe OLED will represent that smallest segment of TV sales for the upcoming year.
Fred Towns, Synnex’s New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games, divisions: Windows 8 will naturally start to create more demand now that there is more breadth to the strong touch-capacity products on the market with more attractive price points compared to when it launched last October.
OLED/Ultra HD TV technologies give a strong reason for early adopting bleeding-edge consumers who want the newest and greatest to come into stores to fully experience the level of quality these newer technologies provide. Fall football season is a perfect time to lure customers to come in and compare OLED/Ultra HD TVs to their current sets to see how they take TV and their entertainment to the next platform.
Dennis Holzer, PowerHouse Alliance: We have already received initial shipments of Ultra HD TV … [and] early results have been excellent. The initial quantities received were immediately sold, while additional models and quantities remain on allocation from the factories. The initial dealers who received these sets have been very pleased, and they too had immediate sell-through to their customer. These products also represent a significant increase in retail price points and profitability, something CE has not seen in a while and have been sorely missed!
Tim Coakley, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: OLED and Ultra HD will definitely carve out their space and market share in the future. The two technologies are making their first real production appearances in 2013 but we expect measurable increases in mass-market adoption with production advancements in 2014 and beyond.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: Certainly sales of both Ultra HD and OLED on their own will not have a significant impact financially in 2013 due to the extreme price points, especially in the first half of the year.
With that said, both of these technologies have already created a renewed interest in the TV category that is desperately needed Over the past year or two the “must have” products in the consumer’s eyes have resided in the mobile space. These introductions will put consumers back in the TV department to see what all the buzz is about.
As pricing potentially drops in the back half, coupled with an unprecedented selection of large panels on retail floors, we have a great opportunity for accelerated activity in replacing the main TV in the home in the back half of 2013.
Rick Sanchez, SED International: Microsoft spent $1.5 billion on Windows 8 advertising, the largest product launch in the history of the industry. We are a Microsoft Master Distributor [and] we carry many different lines of touch Windows 8 products. We are optimistic about the prospects of all Windows 8 devices. OLED is getting overshadowed by the eye-popping detail of Ultra HD. Unfortunately, this technology is very new and customers have not started asking for this product. I believe they are still putting their arms around HDTV and 3D.
Wally Whinna, Allnet Distributing, (Catalyst AV member): Windows 8 hasn’t gotten any traction in our custom hometheater channel, and I think it has dim prospects. Everything is iOS-based and even Android is having a difficult time penetrating. Our channel seems to have adopted Apple as the protocol standard.
OLED and Ultra TV will have to provide additional benefits in order to gain material sales or provide a price advantage. Even at 90 inches, the differences between 4K (Ultra) and 1080p are not apparent to anyone but Superman. There is always the early adopter who will certainly opt for the latest technology, but we believe the mass-market appeal will be insignificant.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.