By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Lawndale, Calif. – LG Electronics USA marked the formal retail debut of Ultra HD flat-panel TV yesterday with a launch-party gala at a Video & Audio Center (VAC) showroom here.
The event drew industry executives, local dignitaries, broadcast media and upward of 1,000 customers who lined up outside the Los Angeles-area store for giveaways, special promotions and a peak at LG’s 84-inch LM9600 4K LED display.
Jay Vandenbree, LG’s U.S. home entertainment senior VP, said A/V specialist VAC was selected for the debut for its assisted sales floor, installation services and proximity to Hollywood.
“My title says home entertainment, not home electronics, and this is the entertainment capital of the world,” he told TWICE. “It was a very easy, very logical choice.”
VAC principals Joseph and Mayer Akhtarzad noted that their three-store chain has long served as the launching pad for new CE technologies, dating back to DAT and the CD recorder.
Joseph Akhtarzad, left, and his brother Mayer, far right, accept TWICE’s Excellence In Retailing Award from senior editor Alan Wolf.
“We’ve been bringing out new technology from day one, 31 years ago,” Joseph told TWICE. “We have the right mix of customers and can get the kind of publicity that manufacturers can’t get on their own.”
Tom Campbell, corporate director of VAC, said the event was for the industry as much as for the chain. “We need to invest in the whole industry, and pull together as a channel,” he noted. “The consumer is looking for meaningful new technology, and the excitement that Ultra HD is generating will be a boon for the retailer, the economy and the country.”
Vandenbree said the new display will initially roll out to select, full-service retailers over the next six weeks and will not be available online, but declined to detail future distribution plans. He said the TV will appeal to high-end users, those “who want to be the first on their block,” and consumers who want a big screen but have limited space, as the higher resolution allows for shorter viewing distances.
More than a few target users attended the launch party, purchasing 11 of the $16,999 sets.
Also on hand for the event was Consumer Electronics Association senior VP Jeff Joseph, and TWICE senior editor Alan Wolf, who presented the Akhtarzads with an Excellence in Retailing Award for introducing new technologies within a compelling, consumer-friendly setting.
In addition, Campbell read a personal letter from Bill Clinton congratulating VAC and LG on the launch.
Editor's note: To see what LG’s 84-in Ultra High Definition set looks like, click here: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/58805-lg-4k-ultra-high-definition-flat-panel-tv
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