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Retailers Bullish on Ultra HD Prospects

New York – “Beyond expectations,” summed up how Ultra High-Definition TV sales are doing at retail, according to panelists at today’s TWICE/CEA Ultra HD Conference.

Moderated by Alan Wolf, senior editor of TWICE, “Taking Ultra HD to Retail” panelists included Tom Campbell, corporate director of Video and Audio Center; Robert Zohn, owner of Value Electronics; Brian Siegel, merchandising and operations VP at Sony Electronics; and CEA’s Shawn DuBravac.

Campbell said Ultra HD will go “well beyond acceptance of HDTV,” and he noted, “When you saw the LG 77-inch curved OLED Ultra HD shown here earlier, you heard the media gasp, applaud and there were pictures taken. This will go beyond expectation.”

DuBravac said that if you look back at adoption curves of Blu-ray, HDTV and DVD, “as we head into the fourth quarter, we are getting right where we should be” with Ultra HD.

Siegel said Sony Stores demonstrate Ultra HD at the center of the store and ask consumers to create content with their smartphones. The demo also shows native 4K content from the Sony player as well as up-converted DirecTV and Blu-ray programming.

“We show the full 4K spectrum,” he said.

Zohn said sales of the Sony 4K Unlimited server have been “tremendous” as add-on sales for its Sony 4K sales, as did Campbell and Siegel.

“We force viewers to watch an 85-inch screen closely, 4.5 feet away, and no one has ever said, ‘We are too close. We don’t like it.’ [But] just the opposite,” said Zohn, describing the in-store demo.

Campbell remarked that the “predictions for Ultra HD sales this year are very underrated,” and added that most of its customers “come in and stop in their tracks.”

All the panelists said that Ultra HD needs to be demonstrated and sold at brick-and-mortar stores, but unlike the HDTV rollout, there will be more education being done online by consumers.

DuBravac put it this way: “Sixty-five percent of consumers know the term ‘Ultra High-Definition TV.’ That is pretty well-known for a new technology. This will drive people in to the retail environment … not just the in-store experience as well. Many see it on a retailer’s website and educate themselves.”