TWICE: How will the shipment and introduction of Ultra High Definition change the holiday sales dynamic for TVs this year? Do you expect larger than expected sales due to recent price reductions?
Dennis Holzer, The PowerHouse Alliance: The introduction of Ultra HD has been a welcome addition. It has allowed all sellers the opportunity to offer a step-up product with higher retails and better margins, something most sellers haven’t been afforded in the TV business in recent years. The recent decreases in cost will spur additional sales. However, until significant content is available at the consumer level, sales will be limited.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: Yes, I believe that we will see greater than anticipated activity out of Ultra HD this season. The price reductions have put these sets within reach of a much wider band of consumers. More importantly, we have finally reached the point where all the manufacturers have shipped their models.
So beginning in Q4, consumers will see a variety of brands, sizes and price points on dealer floors as well as increased advertising and promotion. This awareness will only escalate consumer aspirations along with the sales volume. With that said, I think that this category stands on its own this holiday season.
While the lower pricing has opened this category up to more consumers, it is still not at a point where it is affordable for the masses. Therefore, I don’t believe that promotionally or lower priced TVs will be diminished in any way by the emergence of Ultra HD.
Rob Eby, D&H Distributing: We don’t anticipate much of an uptick on 4K for this holiday. Prices are on their way toward a more accessible range for consumers, but may not quite reach that mark by this holiday season. Ultra 4K shows a lot of promise and will be a significant CE growth area, but will still be considered quite a high-end, exclusive gift item.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games: People will buy 4K TV sets for the best picture quality first. Content and peripherals are second. Buying a 4K set is like buying a Maserati or Lamborghini. You know what the car is capable of performance wise, but you might not have the streets to drive it on to its fullest capacity. It’s really all about having the best picture quality available. 4K video cameras are on the market now, which will drive further interest in the technology.
Warren Chaiken, Almo: Even with the price reductions, Ultra HD TVs are still at a price point geared toward the upper end of the market. We don’t see them being a big revenue driver for the holidays, particularly given the promotions that will be available on LED TVs this year.
Tim Coakley, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: Growth in Ultra HD has already surpassed projected sales in 2013 [for Ingram]. The success has been significant enough that Ingram has already ramped up inventory numbers to meet the increased holiday shipment demand.
Kevin Kelly, Stampede Presentation Products: With manufacturers already starting to advertise 4K HD televisions for $4K in sports sections of major metropolitan newspapers and on major television sporting events, I think you’re going to see the entire television category energized as a result.
Wealthier first-adopters are going to be seriously tempted to get into 4K HD, and that is going to help drive lower prices for all sizes and formats of 1080p televisions. This is the same pattern we have seen over the years every time a new standard is introduced. The real interesting thing to watch is going to be how fast certain manufacturers drop their pricing on the 4K sets. It could be a lot faster and more dramatic than we think.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries: We believe significant demand for Ultra HD will come after TV manufacturers improve efforts to educate consumers of the benefits to Ultra HD and when there is greater access to content that takes advantage of the new technology.
Curt Hayes, Capitol: Ultra HD will help put the spotlight back on TV, but it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see the same pricing pressures that we’ve experienced with HDTV. In the short term, it will take support from the cable and content providers to ensure that end users have plenty of access to programming that warrants the purchase of a new video system.