10 Oct 2014

How to sell 4K to the consumer

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LG's latest 105" behemoth - too small, frankly LG's latest 105" behemoth - too small, frankly LG

Expensive TV sets don’t just sell themselves. Indeed, US-based trade body the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has created a guide for retailers to help explain 4K UHD technology to consumers as part of a push to ramp up spending ahead of the holiday season.

According to CEA research, consumers are pushing back against 4K in the home with a survey it’s conducted suggesting that 75% are worried about the price of sets and 43% are worried about the availability of content. Meanwhile, on the positive side of things, it also reckons that 80% of US adults want to see an Ultra HD TV in a store before buying, 67% want a demo, and 62% want to talk to a sales person.

As such, the CEA has some sales tips, most of which fall comfortably into the blindingly obvious category such as “Play native 4K ‘Wow’ demos in store” and “show off 4K upscaling technology to help address any lingering consumer concerns of limited content availability.”

The viewing distance advice is possibly some of the most interesting: “The optimal viewing distance for Full HD is three times the height of the picture,” the Guide states. “For Ultra HD, it’s 1.5 times picture height. That doesn’t mean they will move the couch closer. It means they’ll want a bigger TV.”

Now, having just checked my living room, that means I am now suddenly in the market for a 168” UHD set if anyone feels like making one. Given that the average US living room is slightly larger than the average British one, personally this section of the Guide feels slightly optimistic.

Also, and a bit more worrying, the Guide includes a section on frequently asked questions which floor staff may face, including “what is the difference between ‘4K’ and ‘Ultra HD?”:

“They are really two sides of the same coin,” it says confidently. ”They are both terms used to describe the next generation of TVs and content with four times the resolution of HD.”

Which is, of course, not quite the case. And if the organisation looking after the industry has trouble with this sort of thing, what chance do real consumers have?


Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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