What’s the condition of the HDTV market?
Warren Chaiken, Almo:
The HDTV market will continue to be driven by price. We expect that by the end of 2010, LED technology will replace LCD as the market leader, particularly as cosmetic factors such as thinner panels, lighter weight and visual appeal rise in importance.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:
First and foremost, cost is a very important deciding factor. The consumer wants the highest possible quality and best value for the dollar spent. Consumers are asking for plenty of inputs and calibration options. But does an average consumer need fi ve HDMI ports? Consumers are still getting educated on the importance of refresh rates, best viewing angles, energy efficiency and more. Consumers are also willing to wait for a product to get a great price. And with manufacturers watching inventory closely in an effort to reduce markdowns, great deals will become slim. LED TVs in large sizes are getting signifi cant attention.
Doretta Raffio, ADI:
Widgets, such as Netfl ix and YouTube, will to grow in popularity and drive demand this year. Overall, we anticipate a continuation of the price reductions that have become the norm in the fl at panel market. Users will look for more Internet accessible applications for home entertainment and media streaming.
Jeff Kussard, Capitol Sales:
HDTV is a strong seller. New features and shrinking margins keep them moving, but you have to know what you’re doing in order to see the benefit. We work closely with our dealers and installers to help them market the overall experience to their respective clients, demonstrating the benefi ts of higher-performance models and accessories. This year, we’re seeing that LED backlight technology is a huge success. That comes as no surprise, of course, given that it looks great and allows the manufacturer to reduce the depth of the cabinet. Even with new technologies and attractive features, we’re still seeing what I call a race to the bottom. Frankly, it came as no surprise when we first noticed that this year’s replacement models are priced lower than their predecessors. I only hope we see some stability in HDTV pricing soon.
Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman and Co.:
Product is currently readily available and manufacturers are positively addressing the compression in retail price points. With new product offers and line introductions they are attempting to stabilize programs and promotional pricing. Convergence with computer-related products and services as well as LED technology are demand features that more and more end users are seeking. Sales of LED HDTVs will definitely increase through the balance of the year and we once again see the HDTV market as very healthy.
Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing:
There’s a lot of room for growth in HDTV. “Thin and fast” are still driving characteristics this year. Many software add-ins will help drive the business as well such as Skype, Netfl ix and socialnetworking features all built in to the TV. Aesthetic appeal will contribute, and 3D and thin bezels are attractive drivers. On pricing, hopefully the decline in ASP has leveled off. It would be unusual to see the manufacturers go to heavy discounts this early in the product’s life cycle.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries:
Right now, unit sales are up but ASPs are down, which is why we continue to push our dealers toward carrying accessories like HDMI cables, power protection, mounts, screen cleaner, etc., because that’s where the profi ts lie. Features that we think will continue to drive demand for HDTVs include thinner fl at-screen models, 3D, faster refresh rates and LED. Pricing and inventories should stay consistent through midyear while manufacturers get positioned for a successful fall selling season.