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Can Sony Dominate Ultra HD by Flooding the Market?

Can Sony Dominate Ultra HD by Flooding the Market?
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Sony (NYSE: SNE) is eager to take control of the new Ultra HD market, but can it do so by releasing more 4K displays than its competitors?

Earlier this week, the company announced that the next batch of Ultra HDs (which run at a resolution of 3840 x 2160) will be far cheaper than the original 84-inch set that went on sale last fall.

That display carried a $25,000 MSRP -- the same price that Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry expected Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to charge for a Retina Display TV.

"I think if they put a Retina Display [in the TV] and the main screen size is [at least] 50 inches, I think the price point of that device will go for more than $25,000," Chowdhry told Benzinga last June. He estimated that Apple would hold off on building a large Retina Display until the price comes down.

Based on Sony's current pricing structure, it seems that high-resolution monitors are already becoming cheaper to manufacture. The company's first 55-inch 4K set will cost $4,999 -- just one-fifth the price of the 84-inch model. The 65-inch model will be sold for $6,999, making it a bit more expensive to own.

Now Sony is reportedly working on an even smaller 4K display, one that could be used in the commercial space but is small enough to cram into a dorm room.

According to DigiTimes, Sony will release a 30-inch Ultra HD OLED display with a resolution of 4096 x 2160. Sony is expected to target commercial buyers, but with a display so small, the company is unlikely to stop there.

DigiTimes also reported that Sony might release a 50-inch model, but it may not ship until 2014. The 30-inch model could also be saved for next year.

Even if Sony decided to wait, its efforts could still prove to be vital to the 4K ecosystem. DisplaySearch (the TV research arm at NPD Group) largely believes that Ultra HD panel shipments will rise from just 63,000 units in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2013.

As plausible as that may be, it could be difficult for the industry to find two million interested buyers. With prices that range from a few thousand dollars to more than $20,000, only the most affluent consumers can afford to buy an Ultra HD display. Corporate shoppers could help fill the void, but that will only happen if the industry can persuade them to upgrade.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: 4K Digitimes Sony Ultra HDNews Rumors Success Stories Tech Best of Benzinga


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