Great Expectations For 4K
Chris Larson, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, TCL: The value proposition the industry is able to present will define the volume in the U.S. In other markets, 4K penetration exceeds 25 percent for large-size TVs. In these markets, manufacturers and retailers have recognized 4K as an evolution in television performance as opposed to a different category altogether. This technology will not be “mainstream” when sets are selling for four to five times the price of a 2K television that provides a great HD picture. The industry needs to do a better job presenting 4K as a step from 2K TV.
Drew Pragliola, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, AmTRAN (JVC): We will ship three JVC UHD models this year, in 55-, 65- and 85-inch screen sizes. And, like the market, we expect UHD sales to comprise 10 to 15 percent of overall sales through the end of the year. The big question is how long it will take for there to be a wide selection of native content. There’s no question that consumers will appreciate the difference in video quality, but it will take a growing slate of programming to generate real excitement at the consumer level.
Scott Ramirez, Vice President, Product Marketing & Development, Visual Products, Toshiba: We’re very excited about 4K UHD. We expect the growth percentage to be very strong for the industry and Toshiba in 2014, and beyond that. However, the share of overall TV units in 2014 will be limited. The reality is that, as we look across brands, 4K model introductions are staggered this year—you’re not seeing all the models out early. A lot are coming out in Q2 or Q3. And also, 4K content is just starting. To put it a certain way, I’d say 2013 was a toe-in-the-water year for UHD and in 2014, as an industry, we’re putting our legs in the water, and in 2015, everybody’s jumping in. Mainstream? It will not only become mainstream, but in a relatively short period of time, it’s going to become the majority of big-screen sales in the U.S.A.—within less than five years. This year, we’re still in the transition. Next year will be the real spike of the hockey stick.
Rey Roque, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Westinghouse Digital: By the end of Q3 in two segments we should have between eight and 10 models. We are fairly bullish on 4K in general and are hopeful that adoption should accelerate, moving forward. I’m not really sure what you mean by mainstream. Some of the metrics in a commodity environment, when you start hitting five to 10 percent of the market, can be considered mainstream. I’d extend that a bit to say that if you take UHD as a whole, from a global perspective, global including China, we’re already on our way to mainstream. The nexus of development and demand has moved East —very far East—and what they do over there, including primarily in the supply chain, has a very big impact on what happens here. There’s a lot happening there with regard to how fast they’re cutting glass, and whether that glass is going to be 4K or not 4K. It will impact availability—and availability impacts cost. And cost impacts adoption. So it’s very hard to disaggregate China from discussions of whether something can become mainstream or not in the U.S. I think there’s probably a camp that looks at this as a high-end offering right now—‘let’s keep prices premium and let’s only go after a certain demographic that can afford that premium, and let’s only require specifications that can satisfy that demographic.’ Unfortunately, the Chinese specs are a little divorced from the American requirements, at least when you look at Tier One. That dichotomy in specs has impacted costing. So if the former is what happens, to answer the question on U.S. mainstream, then that’s probably not going to be this year.