This One Mind-blowing TV Statistic Stands Out from Media Day at CES 2019
There’s a lot to digest coming out of the first full Media Day here in Las Vegas for CES 2019, but the one thing that keeps replaying in my mind is a simple statistic that was delivered during the TCL keynote on Monday afternoon. During its press conference, the company highlighted a shocking piece of information related to TV sales in the U.S. Specifically, according to TCL’s data, 99 percent of all TVs that were shipped last year were in the sub-$2,000 price range. So, on the flip side of that, that means a mere 1 percent of the total shipment volume of TVs in 2018 cost more than $2,000.
That’s an incredibly important statistic to the consumer electronics retailer for a number of reasons—namely in that it confirms our long held belief that consumers hunt for deals on TVs. But that statistic should also catch the eyes and ears of TV manufacturers around the globe, who, according to that data, seem to be out of touch with the mass market. And nowhere is that more evident than with the number of 8K TV announcements that were made here.
Coming into CES 2019, we expected to see and hear a great deal about 8K TVs. And Monday’s Media Day extravaganza proved us absolutely correct with big names like LG, Samsung, TCL, and Sony all rolled out their 8K solutions to the public. But we all know how this is going to go because we’ve all seen and been through this exact same situation with 4K TVs. Only now it feels like the industry is getting even further ahead of itself.
Don’t get me wrong, 8K TVs are absolutely gorgeous and will help push screen sizes in the home beyond what we’d think to be reasonable—we’re getting close to hitting that triple-digit mark with these sets, with Samsung checking in with a 98-inch TV introduction later this year. The video performance of these TVs is unconscionable. The images pop off of the screen and make you feel like you could just dive into whatever it is you’re watching.
But all we’ve been able to watch from a native 8K-content perspective so far has been demo reels designed for those TVs. And that very fact speaks to the larger issue with these introductions, in that 8K content is so far behind the curve right now. Each brand used their own technical jargon to describe how their forthcoming product will expertly upscale any and all content to make what you’re watching look like 8K. But let’s be real, it’s not 8K and never will be 8K quality.
So what, then, is the pitch to consumers that now is the time to get on the 8K TV bandwagon? Considering that TCL stat and knowing that these sets are going to launch at and above the $2,000 barrier, I just don’t see it. Other than the early adopter who just has to be first in line for this kind of thing, this is going to be an incredibly tough sell when our TVs today barely have any 4K content options outside of Amazon Prime and Netflix.
The way this rollout of 8K comes off, TV makers appear to be getting frustrated with their slimming margins as TV prices come down and 4K and HDR-enabled sets become more affordable. So, rather than showing a bit of patience and allowing the market (and content) to mature, they’re ready to move on to the “next big thing” in an attempt to recapture some of that lost profit. It’s a story that we’ve seen before, and one that appears to be playing out once again.