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Distributors See Mixed Picture For TV Sales In 2011


How flat is the flat-screen TV market? What
will drive business this year — 3DTV? IPTV? LED?
Small screens?

Jeff Kussard, Capitol:

The TV market is just plain
flat. It hasn’t slowed, but it certainly isn’t growing at
any discernible rate, mostly due to the fact that after
the past few years of rapid growth, the majority of
consumers have all the screens they need for the immediate
future. 3D has yet to be proven as a motivator
to upgrade, and while it is an attractive feature, I
doubt that there will be any great rush to upgrade for
that feature alone. IP, on the other hand, offers a real
benefit to savvy end-users who are anxious to find
alternatives to traditional content delivery. However,
it has been around for a couple of years. The industry,
however, has not done much to shine a spotlight
on its benefits until recently. Instead of focusing exclusively
on the displays, we encourage our customers
to look for ways to incorporate essential (and
high margin) add-on sales into every TV sale. That’s
where the real growth opportunities are turning up.

Warren Chaiken, Almo:

Overall, flat-screen business
will be flat this year. LED TV and IPTV will be
the market sales leaders. But don’t rule out plasma,
whose sales exceeded 2010 expectations. It will be
interesting to see if this trend continues. 3DTV will
continue to limp along due to lack of available programming
and ongoing technology limitations. This
market is still in its infancy and will take a few more
years to hit popular acceptance.

Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:

TV manufacturers are
changing the focus of their messaging
from pushing 3D to how
great their TV sets are, which, by
the way, have 3D features.

The industry needs to make this the year of educating
consumers to help alleviate confusion about
what they really are getting — from the benefits of
better picture quality in LED, which technology is
right for their individual needs, the lack of universality
between manufacturers and glasses, and even
between the same manufacturer and different generation
models. The more we can educate them, do
the homework for them and have what they need in
stores, the more successful retailers will be.

Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing:

Flat-screen sales
seem to be getting better. Sales are on an upward
growth pattern. Some of the mystery has come out
of the category. I think the major questions have
been cleared up for the end-consumer at this point.

We see LED and connected TV becoming more
important. As more content becomes available, 3D
will be a factor, but will not necessarily be the key
area that drives sales.

Tom Roper, SED International:

Internet TV is
the play. Flat-screen plasma TVs are strong, [but] flat-screen pricing will continue to drop, so volume
will be tough to maintain. IPTV and LED is where the
manufacturers are driving the
business. Thirty-two-inch LCD
pricing will be highly competitive,
[with] unit sales way up but
volume increase will be slight
vs. last year.

David Kaplan, DDG:

3DTV certainly was not the
sales driver in 2010 that many expected it to be. I
don’t expect that to change in 2011, though one
bright spot has been Mitsubishi’s large DLP Home
Theater television. What grew in 2010 were LED panels
with Internet connectivity, and we expect that to
continue in 2011.

In general, flat panel is not the business driver that
it used to be. Opening-price-point erosion coupled
with a tight economy has made comping previousyear
sales dollars impossible. We do not expect dollar
or overall unit growth in 2011. But margin lives
in attachment and new feature sets represent a significant
enhancement of the attachment opportunity.

My guess is that most consumers with IP- and Wi-
Fi-oriented feature sets are not using those features
nearly to their potential. This creates new opportunity
for savvy integrators and the distributors who
support them. Some of this may be small user or
relatively inexpensive jobs, but anything that gets an
integrator inside (or back inside) a customer’s home
is an opportunity not just for the moment, but for future
jobs and add-ons over time.

Dennis Holzer, Powerhouse Alliance:

The flatscreen
market is not flat. Our unit sales continue to
increase, but continually decreasing prices for video
products have driven our customers to be better
price-educated before making their purchases. The
business will continue to be driven by the best price
within all technologies, including LCD, LED, 3D and
IPTV. LCD/LED will still lead in sales as a result of
the continuing low street prices, but look for IPTVs
to make a much larger impact later in the year. 3D
will continue to lag behind until technology advances
and all glasses are passive or no longer necessary.

Michael Flink, ADI North America:

The flatscreen
TV market has been shrinking. As unit purchases
continue to remain flat, price erosion is
causing dollar sales to become lower. 3DTV, IP
TV, LED and small screens have definitely sparked
some interest, and we are seeing them in more of
the high-end installations. These technologies will
soon trickle down into smaller installations and become
more widespread, and eventually become the
industry standard. For example, CCFL LCD is being
replaced by LED in smaller screens and will become
the common technology for all screen sizes over the
next year or so.