LG launched the new product at a huge event at Video & Audio Center in Lawndale, Calif., near Los Angeles. (“We’re not in Torrance, we’re not in Beverly Hills,” said Lawndale mayor Harold Hofmann, who declared today the official Video & Audio Center Ultra HD TV day in Lawndale).
LG Electronics sold its first Ultra HD (4K) TV set today, the 84-inch 84LM9600. MSRP had been set at $19,999 but the street price turns out to be $16,999.
Today was the first day the sets went on sale, and at least six were sold by 2:00 p.m., just two hours after the doors opened to the general public.
“My wife would rather I waited,” said one of the buyers, Michael Buchanan, owner of Rok Sushi, not far from the shop.
Thing is, Buchanan bought a 65-inch LG flat panel just a few weeks ago, but when he saw an ad for the Ultra HD model, he had to have it.
“There’s not another one like it,” he said.
He had never seen a 4K display before, but visited the store three times recently to check it out. His wife saw it, too, he says. She liked it OK, but not $17,000 like.
He was pleasantly surprised by the new street price.
“I thought it would be more,” he says. But then, he didn’t have much to compare it to.
More: What You Need to Know About Ultra HD
On the other hand, Leo Dee, who also picked up a set today, lives alone.
“I’m taking care of myself,” he says.
He had never seen the display before, or anything like it, but had already made the decision to go to the store and buy one.
So when he saw the picture for the first time, he said, “I wasn’t expecting the quality to be that good. It’s almost like being there.”
He added, “I can’t take it with me, so I might as well spend it.”
Dee says he’s a bit of a TV junkie and subscribes to email newsletters on the subject, including LG’s. That’s how he learned about 4K (as in roughly 4,000 lines of resolution).
Representatives from LG and Video & Audio Center would not comment on the number of sets that were available today, other than to say the supply was “substantial.”
“We have enough to sell and we will sell all of them,” said Jay Vandenbree, senior VP of LG and the head of LG’s U.S. Home Entertainment business.
But of the 1,000 or so people that stormed into the shop – the most eager shopper had been camping out there since 6:00 pm last night – only a tiny handful had ever heard of 4K, or what is now known popularly as Ultra HD, thanks to a recent designation by the Consumer Electronics Association. They were there for the great deals.
It doesn’t matter their motivation, once they saw the
$19,999 $16,999 beauties, they were awe-struck.
“That’s about what my home cost in 1968,” said George, among the first dozen people in line. And when he finally saw the picture: “Oh, man! … That is, that is … whew! Look at that, you can see the people.”
He’ll buy a set, he said, “as soon as I get enough money.”
“People here may not be ready to buy one,” said Jeffrey Joseph, senior VP of communications and strategic relationships for the Consumer Electronics Association. “But if they see it, and get excited about it, when it gets to be more affordable, they will remember it.”
And, clearly, none of the people in line (723 of them before the store opened at noon) would be exposed to the amazing technology if they weren’t drawn to the deals in the first place. And the deals wouldn’t have existed if not for the huge promotion around LG’s baby.
More than 700 people waited in line for the store doors to open.
The price of the set is likely to stay at $16,999 for a while, since LG doesn’t yet face competition in the category.
One youngster, Jeremiah, about 10 years old, was incredulous.
“$17,000?!” he asked when heard the price.
He cogitated for a moment and then asked, “How much will it be on Black Friday?”
“$17,000,” replied the LG rep.
Check out Julie’s first impressions of the new TVs here.
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Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.