Shaping the 4K UHD TV Rollout

TV vendors discuss cheap sets, dealer programs and OLED

Major TV vendors are hoping to get it right with their next big launch: 4K UHD TVs. Some companies have already released a few models, while others are planning late-year introductions. They’re all hoping the market buzz will also boost sales of their high-end 2K sets. But every company that has skin in the game knows it will take more than a stunning picture to draw consumer attention to the latest technology on the retail floor. Most are supplying dealers with sales training, all forms of online and mobile assets, and 4K demo content.

The top executives from some of the major TV vendors recently talked to Dealerscope about some of their marketing and merchandising strategies.
Dealerscope: Some UHD/4K sets have recently entered the U.S. market at prices below $1,500. What threat does that pose to your brand? Will the low prices commoditize the product and cheapen consumer perception of the technology?

Mike Fasulo, Executive Vice President, Sony: I don’t see it as a threat—I see it as a terribly confusing situation for the consumer. I see some of it as irresponsible. From a panel point of view, we learned in high definition the differences in panels, and how cost of entry into LCD was so low because if you had a high-definition panel you could say you were high-definition LCD. One of the core reasons we were not willing to give up on the term 4K was that we have an equity and a history on the professional side of true, native 4K cameras, 4K content acquisition, etc. So when we look at entry into the category, those guys who are going to come in and just provide a low-cost panel without the added value of what you can do with your current content, to me, is irresponsible.
What we’re doing with our technology enhancements to the panel is to provide great upscaling capability. Anything you put on a Sony 4K UHD television will look better. To shortchange the consumer is kind of disappointing. We’re just creating a new market, and already we’re hearing of brands coming out without upscaling, and trying to run a race to the bottom with pricing. Unfortunately, the consumer is going to be the victim in this case, which really bothers me. We emphasize not just the number of pixels but the picture engine that drives those pixels. We have eight million pixels in ours, and we’ll include the number in our specs, but the whole numbers game is not the play here; it’s really the experience.

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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