4K UHD TV Sets May Tempt Subscribers to Cut the Cord

What’s to be said about the rapid decline in prices of 4K UHD sets from name brand set makers, especially sets from Samsung, the world’s largest maker of TVs?

Looming behind Samsung, LG and others are the Chinese makers of TV sets who are beginning to flex their muscles outside of China.

The Chinese companies are helped in their efforts to reduce costs because China is still the world’s largest UHD market and the greater the volume the lower the manufacturing costs.

The regional US retailer HH Gregg confirmed in its Sunday newspaper flyer what we reported last week:

Samsung UHD TVs

Screen size        Price
Flat screens

40 inches          $598
50 inches          $798
55 inches          $1,198

Curved screens

55 inches          $1,298
65 inches          $1,998

Any price below $1,000 is certainly a mass market price and anything under $2,000 is certain to attract much of the mass market buyers.


7 Key Numbers

40% the approximate amount that Samsung’s UHD TVs have declined in price since their launch this summer.
150,000 the approximate number of fewer people that had a subscription to a pay TV service at the end of Q3
70,000 the approximate number of antennae that Antennas Direct sold in Q3

Samsung has served notice to LG and Vizio that it intends to capture more than its share of the UHD market. For example, at the entrance to Walmart’s Sam’s Club on Black Friday, a Samsung UHD set greeted visitors, not a Vizio as might have been expected.

The increased popularity of UHD sets, brought about by the rapid decline in prices, may lure some to shave or even cut the cord to their pay TV service.

As mass market priced UHD TVs attract an increasing numbers of buyers, the demand for 4K content will accelerate — even though many UHD sets do an excellent job of up-scaling lesser resolutions.

Frequent users of Netflix and other OTT services may begin thinking about shaving the cord if not cutting it completely.

The only places that 4K content is available today are Netflix, NanoTech’s UltraFlix and M-GO.

Amazon has been promising to offer 4K content and currently says by year-end.

DirecTV said it will start with some pay-to-view shows by year end and live linear TV in 2015.

Comcast is reportedly talking with Samsung about putting a Netflix-like OTT icon for 4K shows on Samsung UHD sets.

The second most significant number we have seen recently, in addition to the price decrease in UHD TVs, is the 150,000 pay TV subscribers that cut the cord in Q3 2014. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s a trend or a blip when Q4’s numbers become available.

The next most interesting number is the 70,000 antennae that Antennas Direct said it sold, perhaps not coincidentally, in Q3. It’s another sign of cord cutting, but it’s too early to tell whether the number is a one-off blip or the start of a trend.

What is certain is that consumers who buy UHD sets will look to OTT services as their best sources. When watching content from an OTT services, viewers are not watching the ads on pay TV…

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