Newsletter Issue #841: Ultra HD TV: The Future is Still the Future

January 11th, 2016

This weekend, while doing the family grocery shopping at a nearby Walmart Supercenter, I happened to notice racks and racks of Ultra HD/4K TV sets. A large number were on sale for less than $1,000, with a few sets sporting displays of 48-50 inches or more that were selling for less than $500.

You might think that some of these sets represented unsold inventory from the holidays that Walmart wanted to move quickly. That’s no doubt partly true. But I saw some of the very same sets, with similar prices, in December. So clearly the extra cost of providing TV sets with four times as many pixels isn’t terribly high. Or perhaps TV makers are not against selling them cheap to boost sales and worry about profits later. That’s reminiscent of the PC and smartphone industries.

TV sales have been stagnant or declining in the last couple of years, and manufacturers continue to hope that the move to 4K will be the “next big thing” and result in a huge upgrade cycle that the advent of 3D failed to deliver.

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