4K UHD TVs: A Chance for Vendors to Do it Right
The launch of 4K UHD TVs has pumped some much-needed enthusiasm into the CE specialty channel. Let's hope the TV vendors don't spoil the party before it even begins.
For some insight into the dealer excitement, see our online story on how dealers are using inexpensive 4K UHD TVs from Seiki to draw consumers into the store and introduce them to the more expensive, higher-quality Sony 4K sets. Also see out Dealer Profile to see how Electronic Express is merchandising Sony's TV.
Sony had a head start over Samsung and LG with the launch of smaller screen 4K UHD TVs, and it has used the time wisely. Instead of first launching the 55- and 65-inch sets through big-box retailers (the way manufacturers did with 3D TVs), Sony included specialty dealers in the launch, giving them a level playing field and, in some cases, a head start. Dealers praised Sony for providing them with the training, special customer financing and demo units that are needed to move new technologies.
We can only hope that Samsung, LG, Sharp and Toshiba follow Sony's lead when they launch their 4K UHD sets into the channel during the next few months. Better still, maybe they'll be smart enough to take advantage of what the dealers have learned during the last few months and offer them even more effective sales, support and service programs. All of the manufacturers should use this important launch to make up for the mistakes they made with 3D TVs.
Because of the nature of the industry, the state of the economy and the lack of native 4K UHD content, no one expects the new sets to generate huge sales volume. That's good news. Those realistic expectations just might prevent the manufacturers from prematurely lowering prices to reach irrational numbers.
Instead, manufacturers should use the next six months or so to educate consumers about the benefits of 4K UHD over 2K HD TVs; the superior picture and sound quality, no matter what type of content is played on them; upscaling technologies; sources for 4K content; and the availability of future 4K content releases.
Unlike some technologies, there's no need for manufacturers to foolishly rush in their attempts to hit unrealistic numbers out of the gate. This is the time for consumer education and quality demonstrations that will properly prepare consumers for next year's line of 4K UHD TVs. And there's no better place to grow, nurture and improve those initiatives than in the specialty CE channel.