Do you think speculation about an Apple TV introduction will curb sales or spur interest in smart TVs for the industry this year?
Rob Eby, D&H Distributing:
Apple will be a major force in TV if they enter the category. We’re not yet sure whether [Apple TV] will be a gamechanger, but they will at least be a disruptive force. I do not think it will curb sales [of other brands] at this point. There are still a lot of older sets out there that need replacement. But when and if Apple does launch in the TV arena, they will make an industrywide mark.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics/Jack of All Games:
If Apple TV does hit the market, it will put pressure on the higher-end TV manufacturers, as price points have been rumored to be around the $2,000 plus range for a 40-inch to 42-inch TV. The average 46-inch and up TV is now in the sub- $1,000 range, meaning that the Apple TV might be priced outside of the average consumer’s budget for that size.
Of course this is all speculation at this point since no one knows what the price will be. Other manufacturers besides Apple will have gesture and speech features, as we are already seeing advertising in the market for this type of product.
Warren Chaiken, Almo:
Anytime a new technology is released it piques consumer interest in the overall category. We embrace any new technology because it stimulates the consumers desire to learn about it, driving retail traffic and giving retailers the opportunity to educate and sell.
Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman & Co.:
We have generally seen a robust demand and universal acceptance of Internet or Internet-capable TVs over all. I think the “talk” of Apple TV will only continue to enhance the appeal and generate additional excitement for smart TVs. Whether it’s a full computer/TV convergence or simple Internet streaming content via the TV, end users definitely view the “smart” TV as a demand feature, and at this point they are also willing to pay a premium for it.
As with any technology a lot of its success is in the marketing and ease of use.
Michael Flink, ADI Americas:
As we saw it happen across the tablet market, the introduction of a well-designed, well-featured Apple TV product line will drive growth across the entire category. Consumers will be drawn in as they see value in the new technology and have less focus on price and specs. We welcome the entry of Apple products into this category.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems:
I don’t believe the speculation about Apple TV will really do much to either curb or spur sales of smart TVs. With the exception of a small percentage of video enthusiasts that follow the industry, most consumers are not really aware of what we know as industry insiders. All they know is that they are ready to buy a TV and look for the best solution and value to fill the need they have.
With that said, I think the success of smart TV sales this year will be driven by manufacturers that provide platforms that are easy to use and deliver on a truly enhanced experience in the consumer’s home. Retailers that can present these solutions and show consumers how a connected TV can enhance the TV viewing experience, especially with multi-device interoperability, will do well.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries:
Consumers are anxious to see what new functionality Apple TV will bring. That said, just like in the smartphone market, there are some great innovators beyond just Apple. I think smart-TV manufacturers will continue to find ways to integrate with other pieces of hardware, such as DVRs, Android devices, wireless and Bluetooth devices, and they should remain successful regardless of what Apple TV brings.