Sears’ Kenmore-Branded 4K TV Just Might Work

Sears has unleashed a line of 4K UHD TVs, as well as IoT devices under the Kenmore Elite brand. Will the brand work for the living room and the smart home?

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Quick, what's the first thing you think of when you hear 4K TV? Kenmore? Probably not today, but Sears hopes to make Kenmore a household brand for the living room, just as it has done for the utility room and kitchen with those famous Kenmore appliances.

65″ Kenmore Elite TV

Item # 05771398000P Model # 71398

The Kenmore Elite UHDTV displays video in exquisite 4k ultra high-definition form, enhancing the resolution of average high-definition four times over. Paired with the affordability and trusted performance consumers have come to expect from the Kenmore brand, this television offers a sleek design and crisp audio system that make it the essential centerpiece of any home theater space.

  • Five picture modes (standard, dynamic, movie, user, game) allow for a customizable viewing experience every time  
  • LCD display with dynamic LED backlight creates high contrast and vivid color
  • Two audio power speakers with 8 watts each power the Kenmore Elite UHDTV’s surround sound experience
  • Dolby Digital enhances sound from digital sources like downloaded movies and music, as well as connected computers, smartphones and tablets
  • Smooth Motion 120 provides ultra-smooth clarity during action sequences
  • Three HDMI 2.0 ports feature HDCP encrypted content security
  • One USB input supports most standard media formats (JPEG, BMP, PNG, MPEG4, H264, MOV and MP3)
  • Multilingual on-screen display (English, Spanish) provide added convenience to bilingual users
  • V-chip parental control allows users to restrict content based on program ratings, as well as check ratings of unfamiliar programs
  • Remote control with navigation pad allows users to quickly and easily access various settings (batteries included)

Sears has launched the Kenmore Elite 4K Ultra HD TV line, featuring a 50-, 55- and 65-inch model priced at $750, $900 and $1500, respectively. The prices aren't dirt-cheap (they're more than Vizio), just like Sears' appliances run more middle-of-the-road than bottom-of-the-barrel.

In fact, today on Sears.com, you'll see a 65-inch Kenmore selling for $1,500, right next to a Samsung model on sale for the same price. A 65-inch LG model undercuts them both at $1,300.

Of course, Sears has that edge that no one else provides — “built-in smooth motion 120” that “reduces motion blur.”

Wow!

RELATED: Target, Sears and the Trouble with Home Automation at Retail

In an online ad, Sears tells us, “The trusted name in appliances familes have relied on for more than 100 years is now in your living room.”

I believe it. I trust Kenmore. It has something to do with the pricing (reasonable, but not cheap), as well as the backing of the Sears brand, which I trust, but can't tell you why.

In a 2015 study of Most Trusted Brands conducted by Lifestory Research, Kenmore swept all kitchen-appliance categories, including cooktop/range, refrigerator and dishwasher brands (but slipped in 2016).

Kenmore Elite “brings the performance you expect with the value you deserve,” according to Sears. 

I think it's a winning formula, and definitely a brand to watch in the cateogory.

Kenmore-Branded Smart Home Devices: Meh

As for the new connected devices being sold under the Kenmore brand, that's another story, and I'm not really buying it.

There's a Wi-Fi communicating air conditioner with an app. I can see that. There a connected water heater and water softener. Whatevs.

And then there's the Kenmore Alfie, “your family's intelligent shopper.” Push the button and tell Alfie what you want to buy, like a wireless drill for under $50. It will provide some options, and you can place your order via voice, for pick-up or delivery.

Kenmore Alfie

“Kenmore Alfie can fetch you any item from any store or website out there,” according to the Web site. Presumably, “any store” means Sears, Kmart and the Sears-affiliated etailer Shop Your Way.

Kenmore at some point will be adding smarts to its major appliances — a refrigerator that can tell you if you left the door open, a washing machine that warns you of a leak, and an ecosystem that includes monitoring by the Sears service department.

These connected features are a nice addition to the Kenmore appliances line, but they won't bring incremental business to Sears.

But Kenmore-branded 4K TVs (ironically, lacking in connectivity)? I'm bullish on that.

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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Sears