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Interest Builds For Ultra High-Definition/4K TVs

TWICE:Have Ultra TV (4K) TV events or promotions had any effect on consumers?

Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: At this point, the early effects of 4K events around the country have had minimal impact on consumers. While these events have been covered by general media outlets, the awareness seems to be limited to wealthy early adopters and video enthusiasts.

It is my opinion that the mass consumer is not yet aware of what this is all about. With that said, I believe that the introduction of more models at more attainable price points that are planned by manufacturers later this year will create more general awareness as retailers across the U.S. devote promotional and advertising resources to this technology. We are hopeful that this translates into some much needed excitement for the TV category.

Dennis Holzer, The PowerHouse Alliance: We are still in the very early stages of receiving and shipping 4K TV. Initial shipments have been received, allowing us just enough to outfit our showrooms, with the remaining quantities going to our dealers who had many of their units pre-sold.

While only a small percentage of dealers have received enough product to date to have a display, early indications reflect the product is selling well and should continue. In addition, 4K deliveries have allowed our custom dealers to begin including the product into their bids for future installs.

Unfortunately, many consumers are not yet aware of 4K TV. Awareness will increase significantly as additional vendors release their 4K lineups, present vendor shipment quantities increase and advertising and editorial reviews begin. Lastly, the cost and selling price of 4K has injected profitability into the video category at all selling levels which is a welcome change.

Tim Coakley, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: Ultra TV has created a significant amount of excitement in the industry amongst early adopters. The Ultra (4K) technology illustrates how the CE manufacturers continue to push the bounds of consumers’ expectations. The IMCE customer is very aware of this ground breaking technology and interest will continue to grow as pricing becomes more affordable.

Fred Towns, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games divisions of Synnex: A lot of people are inquisitive about 4K TVs, but like a lot of cutting-edge technologies, the most advanced shoppers are usually the ones that jump on the opportunity to own. Some retailers are starting to have in-store demos, but even with the excellent picture quality, the motivation to purchase is not as strong because of the limitations of 4K content available.

Curt Hayes, Capitol: 4K is a new concept to consumers — only the true A/V enthusiasts are aware of it, but it makes a huge impression on both residential and commercial integrators. We have seen a great deal of interest in all 4K models going back to International CES in January. I think the real key to Ultra’s success is the larger screen sizes afforded by 4K technology. The reaction will be similar to consumers’ first reaction to HDTV.

Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing: Ultra TV seemed to be well received during International CES in January.

High-profile events are a good way to create awareness of Ultra TV, such as the recent Sony 4K TV trial scheduled for Wimbledon, but the market will likely be driven by a more familiar process. When pricing becomes more accessible and screen sizes more practical for the average consumer, adoption will begin to accelerate.

There has been some talk of content availability problems, but 4K content will likely grow with the same speed as high-def availability when the first HDTVs were introduced. 4K will experience a more robust and longer-lasting adoption than 3D, since 3D had issues with glasses and gear, in addition to a scarcity of content.

Warren Chaiken, Almo: Due to the recent press coverage, we are seeing inquiries from dealers regarding 4K product, but we are not yet seeing demand for product. Currently, the majority of consumers are not aware of Ultra TV to drive that demand.