TV Answer Man
Do 4K TVs Cost So Much?
Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2013)
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Q. I read
your story about Best Buy selling the new Sony 4K TVs for $4,999
and $6,999. That's nice and all, but why do they cost so damn
much? It's ridiculous. I'll never buy one at that price! Is
there something special in the 4K TV that makes it so expensive?
-- Adam, Atlanta, Georgia.
Best Buy, and Amazon, and several
other retailers are now selling the Sony 55-inch 4K TV for
$4,999 and the 65-inch model for $6,999. While those prices may
seem outrageous, they are actually much lower than what Sony is
asking for its 84-inch 4K set. And that happens to be...
And Samsung has just unveiled a
$40,000 4K set!
Why are these new TVs so expensive?
The word, "new," is a hint.
The 4K TVs, which purport to offer a resolution four times
greater than today's 1080p HDTVs, includes parts that are new in
the industry. And when you are manufacturing anything
that includes new parts, you have to set the price higher at
first to recoup the cost of acquiring those hard-to-get parts.
When sales pick up, mass producing the unique parts gets easier
and cheaper, which helps lower the price of the product.
But that's not the only reason that the 4K TV is so expensive.
The TV makers also invested heavily in research and development
in producing the 4K set. The high launch price is also designed
to get back some of that R&D money.
And, finally, TV manufacturers are content right now to sell a
relatively small number of 4K TVs for a couple of reasons:
1. There is very little 4K content available now so the TV
makers don't want millions of people frustrated, which they
would be if they bought an 'affordable' 4K set. Keeping the
price high at launch removes the risk of a large number of
people spreading negative word-of-mouth about 4K because they
can't watch 4K programming.
2. By keeping sales low at first, the TV manufacturers can
better monitor how early adopters react to the 4K set, which
allows the manufacturers to make tweaks to future models.
So, when parts get cheaper, 4K content becomes more plentiful
and the TV makers learn more about what consumers want from 4K
sets, you'll start to see prices come down.
Note: Seiki is selling a 50-inch 4K TV for $1,499, but thus far,
that's far and away the lowest price around for a 4K set.
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