×

Why Hollywood Should Worry About Samsung’s 110-Inch TV

Electronics manufacturers are sure to set off a new tech trend of mega-TVs that will encourage more consumers to stay at home

Just days before the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas next week, Samsung unveiled a massive 110-inch Ultra HD TV that comes with an equally hefty pricetag of $150,000 in South Korea.

While the new TV is out of the reach of most consumers, Samsung has created a ripple that will surely turn into a wave of new mega-TVs the electronics industry will soon unleash from a variety of hardware makers looking to lure buyers with the next big thing. Although 3D TVs — also heavily promoted at CES in the past — have turned out to be a fad, 4K doesn’t look to go down that same route.

And that should have Hollywood worried.

If studios and their exhibition partners were concerned about an increasing number of moviegoers staying at home, the newest 4K TV sets hitting the market over the next year should amp up the anxiety.

Ultra HD provides four times the resolution of a standard high-definition TV currently found in most homes, displaying 8 million pixels rather than 2 million.

While movie theaters show images in 4096 x 2160 resolution, the newest Ultra HD TVs show them in 3840 X 2160, too close for comfort for theater operators. Because of that, expect exhibitors to demand a tighter hold on current release windows in order to protect ticket and concession sales.

Ticket sales this year were stable with 2012, if not slightly higher, according to the National Assn. of Theater Owners, at 1.36 billion sold.

But admissions could start to decline as prices of Ultra HD TVs decrease and consumers opt for more impressive home theaters.

Price points on the newest TV sets have already dropped fairly quickly, with Sears selling a 65-inch 4K TV from Seiki Digital for $2,999 during this holiday season.

The new 4K TVs are also smart TVs, providing access to streaming video apps like Neftlix, YouTube, Amazon and Hulu Plus. Some of those players already are experimenting with 4K streaming in order to be ready for the demand for more programming from buyers of Ultra HD screens.

Sony stepped up this summer to provide buyers of its own 4K TVs movies and TV shows through a new media streamer. And other studios already are filming their movies in 4K — Universal’s “Oblivion” was shot in the format — making the transition to homevideo easier.

The push to promote Digital HD, an earlier window than homevideo disc releases, could also bode well for studios as they look to sell more films through digital platforms and steer consumers away from rentals.

While most analysts believe consumers will likely purchase a 55-inch unit, Samsung’s 110-inch 4K TV provides a glimpse into what’s to come. Earlier this year, Samsung wowed CES-goers with an 85-inch unit providing crystal clear visuals on its massive screen. That unit cost around $40,000.

Samsung says it expects to sell most of its 110-inch TVs in China. But it already has 10 orders for the sets from buyers in the Middle East. The unit is also available in Europe but not yet in North America.

Global sales of Ultra HD TV sets are expected to grow from 1.3 million in 2013 to 23 million in 2017, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

As sales increase, Hollywood’s studio executives will likely be forced to take a closer look at the kinds of movies they greenlight, and the likely result will be slates filled with films that have a wide appeal and developed to be seen on the kind of big screens only multiplexes can provide. As a result, expect less risk taking and more sequels for years to come.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

  • Ashley Flowers - Crime Junkie

    'Crime Junkie' Podcast Host Ashley Flowers Responds to Plagiarism Allegations

    Ashley Flowers, creator and host of “Crime Junkie” — currently the No. 1 true-crime podcast — has been accused of using material in her show from multiple sources without credit. In a statement sent to Variety, Flowers said in part, “we recently made the decision to pull down several episodes from our main feed when their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content