By Patrick Avenell
Shortly before the Sydney Olympics in 2000, LG Electronic launched a $16,000 standard definition flat screen TV. The brand had arrived, it stood for technology and life was good.
Four Olympics later, after a period of technological malaise, the Korean behemoth is again setting new benchmarks, even if the price tag remains the same.
At the IMAX theatre in Sydney that bears its sponsorship, LG unveiled Australia’s first 84-inch Ultra Definition TV (84LM9600). Roughly the size of four 42-inch models tiled in a rectangle this new televisual monolith is truly spectacular. And, at RRP $15,999, it’s spectacularly expensive.
So out of the price range of ordinary consumers is the UD TV — as LG likes to call it, instead of the more prevalent ‘4K’ term — that only 30 handpicked retailers will be receiving stock when it goes on sale on 19 November 2012.
LG's new 84-inch UD TV.
Ultra Definition is twice that of Full HD — 3,840 x 2,160p — so the clarity of the picture is without peer, even when watching upscaled content as very little native content is available. This model has an LCD screen with an LED backlight and a 200 Hertz refresh rate, so the picture is enormous, crystal clear, bright and without the drag that slower refresh rates exhibit.
LG’s marketing general manager, Lambro Skropidis told Current.com.au that releasing this type of product is not so much about generating sales or share, but changing the way consumers think about the brand. That view is manifested exponentially when you are able to be first to market with a new technology.
“We’re definitely looking to be a category captain and a leader in the market, and showcasing new technologies certainly positions us that way,” he said. “This is going to be a fairly niche product so it’s not necessarily going to make major shifts in market share, but in terms of mindset change — the type of brand we want to be — it’s very important.”
As is now commonplace with any TV pitched at or above the middle market, this model has 3D and 2D-to-3D capabilities, as well as Smart TV functionality via inbuilt wireless connectivity. The remote control talks to the TV via Bluetooth and appears as a cursor on the screen when selecting menu options. Further convenience is added through the integration of LG’s TimeMachine PVR feature.
LG’s go-to-market strategy for this TV is based, somewhat paradoxically, on experience and selectivity. Skropidis said consumers would be drawn to the retailers selected to carry this TV, and that the experience of watching it was its biggest selling point.
In what he’s calling a “targeted sniper approach”, LG will use a range of above and below the line tactics to attack the most likely consumers of this TV, the super-rich and the early adopters (though, most likely, the only consumers will be ellipse in that Venn diagram).
Marketing will include point-of-sale, print advertisements, public relations, catalogues, online, direct mailouts and retail staff training.
A very poor photo of LG's marketing campaign for the UD TV. Click the image for a closer view.