Posted on 12:00am on Tuesday 13th January 2015 by Walts
While everything is not in 4k, more and more each day is coming online. Amazon, Netflix, Sony and several small startups are pushing 4k content. So you may think that you should save your money and get a 4k TV next time. While I agree that may be the right decision in some cases, my 30+ years tells me that like anything it is not that simple.
Why not buy a 4k TV is simple:
- Price (about 20% more)
- Lack of Content ( none thru cable or Directv/ Dish)
Why buy is more subtle:
- Build Quality
- Future ready (at least for a while)
- Better quality picture for almost all content
There is a build quality price curve that most products follow.
It has to do with the generation of the technology.
So 1st Gen 4k was crazy expensive but built really well, save a few bugs.
2nd Gen 4k was expensive and all the bugs where worked out for the most part. It was still built really well.
3rd Gen 4k price and build quality meet along with volume.
4th Gen 4k build quality must be sacrificed a little each year to meet ever decreasing price points.
5th Gen 4k build quality is gone in all the low price point models. The Better models will have enough profit left in them for the manufacturers to have a good balance.
6th Gen 4k is almost impossible to make money on so they introduced 16k.
If you want to know why this is read on...
Here is a rule that I tell all my new people that come to work at Walts. Things change but they always stay the same price and build quality. I then further explain that the price for the tv or stereo that people really want always stays the same. There is a reason that we do not buy black and white tv's anymore, even though they would be like 10 bucks. Or would they? No they would be just a little cheaper and in some cases more expensive then the color versions. So you may be asking what does this have to do with why you should purchase a 4k TV?
When a manufacturer decides to produce a product they must first make sure it will sell. Then they must make sure they can make a profit otherwise what is the point. Then many other things are considered until way near the end of the process engineering people must make some hard choices. These choices are always centered around how to build it. If time and money were not object then they would build the best product ever that would last forever. Or if price is all that matters then they would build something as cheap as possible. So they decide to draw a line on cheapness at some point near junk where the price is cheap but not the cheapest. Then they draw a line where the quality and cost are reasonable and that gives them their price and quality range.
Now of course it is not that simple but the last thing that happens is features for price point. That is where everything starts to fall apart. The Sales people want more features and lower price. The marketing people want better quality with lots of features. And the engineers want to build a better product.
Now we have established that Features, Price, Performance and Build Quality are all important. But the order of importance is the key to understanding what is going on in our industry.
This is the order that builds and sells products (at least in our industry) :
- Industrial Design
- Ease of Use
- Build Quality
Now that may not be what you believe to be the case, but I have found very few exceptions in the last 30+ years in this business.
What is good about price being so important is, the manufacturers are always trying to make it cheaper, so it always gets cheaper. They are always trying to add more features, so we get more features. They are always trying to make them look cooler (well maybe not always). And they do try and build them better but only the units that they have a bit of profit in can they accomplish this.