Shaping the 4K UHD TV Rollout
Ramirez: In the U.S., we’ll start shipping 58-, 65- and 84-inch Ultra HD models, most likely towards the end of July.
Sales of 4K Ultra HD in 2013 will be modest. It’s a brand-new category. However, we expect that to change significantly in 2014. In fact, we expect 4K in many ways to take over the position that’s currently held by upper-end, higher-series 2K models. The current 4K price points in 2013 are above current high-end 2K now, but next year, they may supplant that level.
Hauser: We have made no formal announcements regarding Ultra HD. However, I would expect us to participate in any new relevant high technology before the year’s end. Unfortunately, it’s not a standardized format to date. There are various formulas for saying you have Ultra HD. Based on our technology leadership, we fully expect to exceed any of the standards required. So we will have a true 4K, as opposed to some people who have what can be called a “pseudo 4K.”
Sanduski: Product will be available by late August or early September. We will introduce a 70-inch screen size. This is our own panel. We think it will be the first entry into the 70-inch screen size. You’ve seen competitors talk about 55- and 65-inch models, but we’re coming to market with the 70UD1.
We think this model is going to hit a sweet spot and provide affordability for a large-screen 4K Ultra HD set. We will position it at a market retail of $7,999. As you know, based on what’s already out there, you have 65-inch at around a $7,000 market price, but when you jump to 84-inch, it’s priced well north of $10,000. Our 70-inch entry, we believe, will hit a spot in a very large size, in a 70-inch-class product, but still be at an attainable price point.
We generally, as a policy, don’t talk about our particular sales, but the marketplace for 4K is in its infancy. This is the inaugural year. But we have very high aspirations for the 4K market. We think, through a combination of sets not really being launched until mid-year, that this year, industry sales will be modest—probably around 100,000 units, and that’s out of a TV market size of about 35 million units. Just to put it in perspective, it’s still fairly modest in terms of units. But we see the market by 2016 growing to just over two million units—pretty rapid growth. Because of the higher ASPs Ultra HD sets carry, we’ll have at that point a pretty significant impact on the TV industry.