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4K UHD Blu-ray Driving TV Sales At VAC

Video & Audio Center (VAC), which was first to launch 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players at retail earlier this month, is already seeing a synergistic effect on TV sales.

VAC senior technologist Tom Campbell said the four-store L.A.-area chain is selling more 4K HDR TVs, from Samsung, Sony and LG, since it began carrying the $399 Samsung players on Feb. 5.

The retailer has already sold out of its first 100 4K Ultra BD units, has ordered another 200 more, and is looking to add models from Sony, LG, Panasonic and Oppo.

“Samsung is stealing the show,” Campbell said.

Also driving TV sales is the accompanying software. VAC is currently carrying a dozen 4K titles and plans to offer all 30 films that were initially slated for ultra-high-resolution release. The discs, recently reduced to a $25 retail, comparable to HD Blu-ray, are merchandised in dedicated 4K Ultra BD departments where film clips, rather than trailers, are shown, while Plexiglas displays by store entrances list the titles and direct customers to the 4K BD sections.

VAC opened its first 4K BD department, at its Santa Monica, Calif., store, this past Sunday.

Customers aren’t necessarily coming in to see the technology, Campbell said, but when they do, they’re inclined to buy. “Now there’s a reason to purchase an HDR TV,” he observed.

Based on their initial success, Campbell and his boss, principal Joseph Akhtarzad, are positioning the chain as a 4K Ultra BD resource, and are embracing both the content and the hardware to become a “total destination.”

“Retailers need to be more aligned with the motion picture industry,” Campbell said. “We need the intellectual property, and they need us as the gateway for go-anywhere technology.”