Street Price set at $16,999 for LG’s 84-in 4K Ultra HD TV
Leo Dee was one of the first six people who bought an Ultra HD 4K TV from LG Electronics at L.A.‘s Video & Audio Center, which hosted the launch party.
LG launched the new product at a huge event at Video & Audio Center in Lawndale, Calif., near Los Angeles. (“We’re not in Torrance, we’re not in Beverly Hills,” said Lawndale mayor Harold Hofmann, who declared today the official Video & Audio Center Ultra HD TV day in Lawndale).
Today was the first day the sets went on sale, and at least six were sold by 2:00 p.m., just two hours after the doors opened to the general public.
“My wife would rather I waited,” said one of the buyers, Michael Buchanan, owner of Rok Sushi, not far from the shop.
Thing is, Buchanan bought a 65-inch LG flat panel just a few weeks ago, but when he saw an ad for the Ultra HD model, he had to have it.
“There’s not another one like it,” he said.
He had never seen a 4K display before, but visited the store three times recently to check it out. His wife saw it, too, he says. She liked it OK, but not $17,000 like.
He was pleasantly surprised by the new street price.
“I thought it would be more,” he says. But then, he didn’t have much to compare it to.
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On the other hand, Leo Dee, who also picked up a set today, lives alone.
“I’m taking care of myself,” he says.
He had never seen the display before, or anything like it, but had already made the decision to go to the store and buy one.
So when he saw the picture for the first time, he said, “I wasn’t expecting the quality to be that good. It’s almost like being there.”
He added, “I can’t take it with me, so I might as well spend it.”
Dee says he’s a bit of a TV junkie and subscribes to email newsletters on the subject, including LG’s. That’s how he learned about 4K (as in roughly 4,000 lines of resolution).
And who cares if there’s precious little native 4K content. The LG display up-converts your 1080p content to look something like Ultra HD.
Representatives from LG and Video & Audio Center would not comment on the number of sets that were available today, other than to say the supply was “substantial.”
“We have enough to sell and we will sell all of them,” said Jay Vandenbree, senior VP of LG and the head of LG’s U.S. Home Entertainment business.
Video & Audio Center’s Joseph Akhtarzad, LG’s Jay Vandenbree, CEA’s Jeffrey Joseph
What the Heck is Ultra HD?
But of the 1,000 or so people that stormed into the shop – the most eager shopper had been camping out there since 6:00 pm last night – only a tiny handful had ever heard of 4K, or what is now known popularly as Ultra HD, thanks to a recent designation by the Consumer Electronics Association. They were there for the great deals.
It doesn’t matter their motivation, once they saw the
$19,999 $16,999 beauties, they were awe-struck.
“That’s about what my home cost in 1968,” said George, among the first dozen people in line. And when he finally saw the picture: “Oh, man! … That is, that is … whew! Look at that, you can see the people.”
He’ll buy a set, he said, “as soon as I get enough money.”
“People here may not be ready to buy one,” said Jeffrey Joseph, senior VP of communications and strategic relationships for the Consumer Electronics Association. “But if they see it, and get excited about it, when it gets to be more affordable, they will remember it.”
And, clearly, none of the people in line (723 of them before the store opened at noon) would be exposed to the amazing technology if they weren’t drawn to the deals in the first place. And the deals wouldn’t have existed if not for the huge promotion around LG’s baby.
This isn’t the first time that Video & Audio Center, which has four stores in the L.A. area, was selected as the launch pad for a major consumer electronics product.
Last year, the retailer – which has an installation arm called Just One Touch – drew just as big of a crowd for the launch of Sony’s new DEV-5 3D binoculars (actor Jon Lovitz loved them), among other 3D-centric products.
“As you know, for the past 31 years I’ve been in business, all manufacturers have been using Video & Audio Center to launch their new product ….” said company principal Joseph Akhtarzad “We do it the right way and we have the right niche, the right market for the right product.”
Video & Audio Center is a member of the buying group Home Technology Specialists of America, comprised of some of the top home technology integrators and specialty A/V retailers in the country.
“We are the group which can sell this type of product,” Akhtarzad said.
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The price of the set is likely to stay at $16,999 for a while, since LG doesn’t yet face competition in the category.
One youngster, Jeremiah, about 10 years old, was incredulous.
“$17,000?!” he asked when heard the price.
He cogitated for a moment and then asked, “How much will it be on Black Friday?”
“$17,000,” replied the LG rep.