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CEA, DEG To Expand Ultra HD’s Profile

NEW YORK – In less than one year, Ultra HD has gone from just being a highly anticipated and discussed technology to a viable and much desired product, but Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) are going to team to expand the format’s visibility.

Jeff Joseph, CEA’s communications and strategic relationships senior VP, announced at the TWICE/ CEA Ultra HD Conference, held here last week, that CEA and DEG are partnering to push vendors, retailers and content providers to get the Ultra HD message out to consumers.

Through the collaboration, CEA and DEG are developing key Ultra HD messaging points for use by consumer technology manufacturers, retailers, the creative community and content distributors, CEA said. These messages will be delivered in a consumer-friendly fashion and are being designed to generate more awareness of Ultra HD and to help drive sales at retail.

In a statement issued by CEA and DEG during the conference, they want to deliver messages “in a consumer- friendly fashion and are being designed to generate more awareness of Ultra HD and to help drive sales at retail.”

Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, said in the statement, “Our joint messages will reinforce that Ultra HD means 4K resolution — plus a whole lot more. UHD encompasses not only more pixels but a number of other technical improvements, all of which result in greatly improved picture quality and an unparalleled home viewing experience.”

In conjunction with CEA, the DEG is undertaking a number of 4K content- related initiatives, working closely with its member companies to expand the availability of 4K delivery platforms to the home and ensure that a complete 4K workflow exists which clearly identifies the benefits of each platform and helps position it correctly in the market.

Amy Jo Smith, president of DEG, said in the statement, “By working closely with CEA on Ultra HD, we can deliver a powerful 4K content message which will help drive this key initiative to both retailers and consumers alike.”

Ultra HD’s visibility is already doing well, according Brian Markwalter, research and standards senior VP for CEA, during his conference presentation.

Just 10 months after the initial unveiling of some Ultra HD TVs at 2013 International CES, there are almost two dozen SKUs on the market, and consumer recognition of the new technology is growing.

Markwalter is forecasting that 57,000 Ultra HD TVs will ship this year, with adoption quickly ramping up to 450,000 in 2014 and hitting 4 million by 2017.

The most popular screen sizes being bought are 55-inch and 65-inch, and this is indicative of the larger TV trend that has consumers shifting to larger screen sizes, he said.

Consumers have also quickly picked up on Ultra HD. A CEA study found that 55 percent of those surveyed recognized and understood the term Ultra HD, while 64 percent did the same with Ultra High Definition. Markwalter said these figures are very good considering the technology is relatively new.

Interestingly, 73 percent of consumer asked had never heard of the term 4K.

The one negative aspect that vendors and retailers do have to overcome is that a CEA study found that 61 percent of consumers are fully satisfied with the image produced on their HDTV, Markwalter noted. – Additional reporting by Steve Smith