As the state is with politics, the Iowa market may be a bellwether for Ultra High-Definition TV (Ultra HD) sales. Recently, I talked with Vance Pflanz, founder and president of Pflanz Electronics
in Sioux City, Iowa, about Ultra HD. According to 2009 statistics, the population of the four-county Sioux City, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota area exceeded 144,000. For more than 50 years, this family-run business (Vance’s son and daughter also work there) has billed itself as “First in Technology”; so, it’s no surprise this single showroom has met with early success in selling Ultra HDTV.
Since its introduction, over the past year, how many Ultra HDT Vs have you sold?
That’s the $25,000 Sony Model VPL-VW1000ES projector, right?
What do you tell people about Ultra HD? What sells it?
We explain that 1080p has more than two million pixels and Ultra HD has more than eight million pixels, so it has 4 times the resolution of 1080p. Before we start our demo, we tell the customer what to look for during the demo. For example, the black levels: look for different levels of black. To control the demo, we inform customers in advance by telling them to look for specific items in different scenes. Most importantly, we tell customers this will be the best picture they have ever seen on a TV.
How do you demo it? What do you use for content?
We have been the most successful with the Dolby disc “The Sound of High-Definition II,” which we got from CEA to use during our “Demo Days” promotion. Specifically, we use the Chris Botti selection: “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” It features Katherine McPhee. We tell the customer to look at the detail on her bracelet, the detail on her turquoise earrings and the holes in the screen of the microphone. You can actually see her lips through the screen on the microphone; the diamonds all around her ring; the detail on the horns and the thread pattern in the shirt of the guitar player. You can see the different levels of black in Katherine McPhee’s black dress, Chris Botti’s black tuxedo with the stripes and his black shoes. Just amazing!
What have customers’ reaction been?
We have done hundreds of demos and the reaction is—Wow!—always positive. Customers are very grateful for the demo. They thank you smiling and usually shake your hand for the experience.
What do you see as the future of Ultra HD?
I believe Ultra HD is the most exciting product I have experienced in my 54 years in the business. Every customer we have shown it to has been positive about it. I have demonstrated many products over the years and usually I’ll get some negative comments. We have never had a single negative comment on Ultra HD.