Best Buy Selling 4K TVs in 700 Stores17 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel, Chris Tribbey
Best Buy Co., beginning May 19, will start selling Sony’s 4K ultra high definition televisions in about 700 Best Buy and Magnolia stores nationwide, according to a company tweet.
4K monitors offer four times the resolution (8.3 million vs. 2.1 million pixels) of a standard HDTV screen. 4K is designed to “upscale” playback of DVDs and Blu-ray Disc content, while Sony and other studios slowly rollout content filmed in 4K.
While initial 4K TVs unveiled at CES in January carried $25,000 price tags, Best Buy is offering units priced from $4,999 for a 55-inch screen.
“It's a marked step up in quality in terms of picture improvement," Mike Mohan, SVP, merchandising at Best Buy, told Bloomberg News, which first reported the retail move.
Best Buy is hoping 4K can invigorate a languishing retail TV market undermined by discounted units and consumer indifference toward 3D and Internet connected units in the home.
Indeed, retail TV prices for screen sizes 40-inches and above have fallen 15% since 2010, and about 5% since last year — undermining margins in the process, according to Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group.
“There are some reasons for optimism,” Arnold told Bloomberg. “4K TVs are at least helping to drive some renewed interest in the premium end of the TV market.”
Sony is also selling 4K TVs at Sony Stores and select regional retail chains.
Sony this summer will also make available its FMP-X1 4K Media Player, bundled with 10 feature films and video shorts in 4K resolution, for $699. The feature films include Bad Teacher, Battle: Los Angeles, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Karate Kid (2010), Salt, Taxi Driver, That's My Boy, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Other Guys and Total Recall (2012).
“These new models will be arriving in homes just before the summer and are sure to bring the enhanced viewing experience of 4K TV to a whole new audience,” said Mike Lucas, SVP of Sony Electronics Home Division. “Our TVs deliver a vibrant and natural picture that is four times clearer than high-definition. As for content, these new sets enhance all of the video people are watching today, and this summer our 4K media player, followed in fall by the video distribution service, will demonstrate how Sony continues to lead in bringing the 4K entertainment experience to viewers.”