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Consumers Ready, Eager For Ultra HD: Panel

New York — Consumers are ready to purchase Ultra High-Definition TVs, but manufacturers will need to ensure specs are kept simple and easy to understand in order to take full advantage of the upcoming refreshment cycle. 11/12/2013 07:29:00 AM Eastern

New York — Consumers are ready to purchase Ultra High-Definition TVs, but manufacturers will need to ensure specs are kept simple and easy to understand in order to take full advantage of the upcoming refreshment cycle.

A panel of TV makers and experts convened today at the TWICE/CEA Ultra HD Conference, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion as part of CES Unveiled New York, where they discussed the challenges of making specs relatable to consumers and debated whether Ultra HD is an evolution or a revolution of TV technology. 

Greg Tarr, TWICE executive editor, moderated the panel, which consisted of Tim Alessi, new product development director, LG Electronics USA; Jamie Marsh, senior business manager of Sony Electronics’ home entertainment and sound division; Kevin Miller, president and lead technical expert, ISFTV; Tamaryn Pratt, market analyst principal, Quixel Research; Scott Ramirez, product marketing and development VP, visual products, Toshiba America Information System; and Jim Sanduski, strategic marketing senior VP, Sharp Electronics.

Although most of the participants expressed optimism over the potential of Ultra HD — both Alessi and Sanduski said they were bullish about market — a lack of Ultra HD content may prove to be a bit of a stumbling block, Marsh said.

Pratt called 2013 “a positioning year,” noting that Quixel is expecting to see about 40,000 units shipped this year. Next year will see 500,000 units shipped, and this is expected to hit 2.5 million units in 2016, she said.

Ramirez was even more optimistic, saying that they are expecting to see more than 1 million units shipped next fiscal year. “For this year, we didn’t make enough,” he said. “We’re basically sold out.”

As with any disruptive technology, consumer education will be a necessary priority for manufacturers and retailers alike. While the increase in number of pixels is easier for consumers to grasp, the importance of black levels and color saturation are more subtle technologies that should be provided without overwhelming the buyer. Ramirez noted that throwing out buzz words could cause consumers to just purchase the cheapest TV because they don’t fully grasp the importance of certain specs.

 Please see TWICE.com and the Nov. 18 issue for more Ultra HD Conference coverage.