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[June 13, 2014]
The 110-inch, $150,000 TV arrives at Abt [Chicago Tribune :: ]
(Chicago Tribune (IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 13--Abt Electronics is selling a 110-inch television that it says is the largest LED smart TV on the market -- and, at $150,000, the priciest.
The Samsung 110" UHD 4K LED 3D Smart Frameless HDTV, which weighs 304 pounds, is available in the U.S. exclusively through Glenview-based Abt Electronics and Appliances for the next six months. It is currently on display on its showroom floor, at 1200 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Glenview.
The gigantic TV, which debuted in January at the Consumer Electronics Show and arrived at Abt this week, has built-in WiFi, a full web browser, 3D-enabled viewing and an ultra-slim design.
"It came in a huge crate; I thought there was maybe almost an elephant in there," said Abt co-president Jon Abt.
The company has already sold one of these giant TVs to a North Shore resident, who bought the TV under an alias and asked to remain anonymous, Abt said.
That it arrived just in time for the World Cup is fortuitous, as the event is among the top drivers of TV sales, Abt said.
Consumers have always aspired for ever-larger televisions, Abt said. The most popular TV size sold at Abt today is 60 to 65 inches, up from 55 inches a few years ago, he said.
"People don't have buyer's remorse because the TV is too big," he said.
As TV prices decline, more people are getting bigger sets, said Ben Arnold, an industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group covering consumer electronics.
The average price of a TV that is 65 inches and above was $2,037 over the past 12 months, 11 percent less than the $2,300 they were selling for the year prior, Arnold said. Over the same period, the number of those 65-inch-plus TVs sold jumped 69 percent, to 790,000 units from 470,000. They now make up 2.5 percent of all 32 million TVs sold annually, up from 1.3 percent a year ago.
TVs 50 inches and above make up a quarter of TV sales, up from 19 percent the prior year, Arnold said.
TVs with 100-inch screens may never go mainstream, Arnold said, in part because few people would have a room that could hold it. (In Europe, where dwellings tend to be smaller than in the U.S., the larger-sized TV segment is not growing as fast, he said.) But as screen technology continues to advance to be thinner and more affordable, more TV's could push past the 65- or 70-inch size, Arnold said.
Abt has sold huge TVs before, namely Panasonic's even more enormous 152-inch plasma, but that didn't have smart capabilities and is no longer in consumer production, Abt said.
Manufacturers regularly showcase monster TV sets at trade shows, but rarely do those products make it to a showroom, Abt said.
The exclusive retail arrangement with Samsung resulted from Abt's strong relationship with the manufacturer as well as its reputation for having a store conducive to testing new products, given its single-store operation and high-end clients who are seeking "the latest and greatest things," Abt said.
It isn't the only mammoth TV making news.
This week, British TV manufacturer Titan launched the Zeus, a 370-inch TV priced at $1.6 million. Panasonic's so-called "Big Hoss" video screen, which measures 218 feet wide and 94.6 feet tall (that would be a 2,582-inch TV), debuted in March at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Customers considering whether Samsung's 110-incher is right for them -- a small group, no doubt -- should consider whether they actually plan to use the smart capabilities, how far they can sit from the TV, and whether it will be able to fit through their doorways, Abt said.
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