Great Expectations For 4K
Jim Sanduski, Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Marketing, Sharp: We think of 4K as a technology that will be widely accepted by consumers. In the past, with the standard-definition to high-definition transition, there was a change in aspect ratio and in technology from CRT to flat panel. But also, there was the resolution transition—that’s something where consumers can see the difference and will respond well to. Then there’s content, which we also have confidence will become more available. It will happen at the outset via streaming. So we’re very bullish on 4K. As we’ve gone through 2014, our forecasts for where we think 4K sales will end up this year continue to be ratcheted up. We started thinking the market would be 500,000 units. But based on what we see in the large number of products to be available, we think by the end of the year it could approach upwards of 800,000 units. And in the last quarter, the run rate will be significantly higher than that—up to over a million units. But we may just run out of time to hit that number. So our forecast for the year is 800,000. For our brand, we have taken a premium-position approach. I’d say that 4K does not become mainstream this year but is well on its way to becoming mainstream, as we think about large-screen television—which by our definition is 60-inch and larger. But in the overall market, it will still take some time. What you’ll also see 4K enabling eventually is much greater consumer choices in what I’d call ultra-large screen sizes—70-inch and larger.
DEALERSCOPE: What is it about your UHD offerings that differentiate you at the point of sale from others?
Sanduski: Today, we have a 70-inch already in the market that is differentiated—today, it’s the industry’s only 70-inch UHD screen size and if you look at the next largest, you jump to 84-inch—well north of $10,000, and actually above $15,000. Our 70-inch hits the sweet spot as the largest 4K in the first half at a sub-$5,000 price point—it’s a great value. Also, we were the first to incorporate THX technology—it’s THX-certified in offering a picture that matches well with what the original content producer intended. Within our premium position, we are refreshing the lineup. We have a next generation of 4K product which will be available from the beginning of September. We’ll refresh the 70-inch with a new design that will incorporate all the latest technologies such as HDMI 2.0, H.265, HDCP 2.2, but also, we’ll add new features that will build upon our first-generation 4K foundation. Our coming to the 4K market with THX showed that we’re all about great picture performance and we’re going to take that into the next level, and add two new technologies: our first introduction of local dimming, which makes for a picture that is more dynamic and gives even greater resolution. We’ll also be introducing a wide color gamut panel that will increase the reproduction space of reds and blues, for a more realistic picture. We’ll introduce that in the new 70-inch, and we’ll also expand to a new screen size—60 inch—with all the features of the new 70. Our 2014 strategy is setting the right positioning for Sharp around premium performance 4K product. As we move into 2015, we’ll expand into more affordable price points and screen sizes.