When we look back on this year's Super Bowl, we might see the spark that ignited a boom in sales of 4K TVs--at least in the U.S. market. Nevermind that the Super Bowl isn't being broadcast in 4K (maybe next year, when it comes to Silicon Valley?)
Apart from being the biggest day on the American sporting calendar, the Super Bowl is also, more often than not, the year's most-watched TV event in the country. Based on what U.S. retailers are saying, this year's pre-Super Bowl spike in TV sales could turn out be one of the sharpest in recent times -- great news for an industry desperate for such momentum after three years of not-so-stellar performance.
What's more, with retailers offering more 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) TV models than ever before and with their prices in decline, this could be the year when 4K (3840×2160) finally becomes mainstream in the United States.
According to the StarTribune, Best Buy has described the 2.6 percent year-on-year rise in same-store TV sales during the recent holiday season as its best in years. But it is not alone, Target is also reporting a double-digit rise in TV sales.
As big as it may have been for TV sales this year, the holiday season, as rightly pointed out by the paper, is mostly about shoppers looking to snag entry- and mid-level TVs at bargain prices, with the week immediately preceding the Super Bowl being the real deal as far as the sale of big-ticket TVs is concerned.
And if you're a football fanatic looking for a great big-screen Super Bowl viewing experience then right now there is nothing better than 4K TVs, shipments of which research firm IHS estimates will more than quadruple in 2015, going from 1.1 million units last year to 4.9 million units this year. Further, IHS sees the per average price of a 4K TV going down to as low as $1,000 by the end of the year, a 46-percent decline.
Why this matters: The last two or three years haven't been all that great from a sales perspective for TV manufacturers. In fact, compared to the halcyon days between 2009 and 2011, when flat panel TV sales were booming, the last three years have been a bit of a disaster. This was mainly due to the fact that their confidence in the marketability of 3D TVs turned out to be largely misplaced. Also, let's not forget people don't buy TVs every second year.
We are now, however, beginning to see the right market conditions for another major TV upgrade cycle: the last TV sales boom is now well behind us and more and more people are getting used to better-than-HD screens, which are everywhere--laptops, smartphones, tablets, and what have you.
Just a small word of advice, though: Until 4K content becomes mainstream, steer clear of cheap 4K TVs, which can have a hard time upscaling content from lower resolutions.