If nothing else, you have to give Samsung credit for the gutsy PR move it pulled off Wednesday in lower Manhattan. The Internet has been abuzz since the company decided to preview its $40,000 85-inch Ultra HDTV to members of the press who were probably just happy to be inside where it was warm and they could gawk at swimsuit model, Kate Upton. $40,000 is an incredibly huge sum of money to plunk down on a TV, especially when one could build a complete, high-performance home theater system for that amount. Perhaps we’ve become more frugal after the past four years of recession, or maybe we just have our priorities ordered a little differently. Regardless, for all the uproar surrounding the S9’s pricing, it is not the most expensive TV ever marketed; not by a long shot.
At first glance, the pricing on the Samsung S9 Ultra HDTV understandably seems more than just a little steep. Even for a first-generation panel that admittedly would be right at home at the Museum of Modern Art due to its sheer sense of modernism and style. Unfortunately, Samsung’s new toy is getting a lot of attention right now because of its price and, sadly, not because it looks absolutely amazing with native 4K content. In many ways, the S9 launch and post-event hysteria that would have made CNBC’s Rick Santelli proud is burying more important stories like Samsung’s new line-up of plasma HDTVs, which not only looked amazing, but very well may be the final nails in Panasonic’s coffin.
But, believe it or not, $40,000 is chump change in comparison to some of the prices we’ve seen on TVs in the past.
More than two years ago we took the ISF Level II advanced calibration course conducted at Panasonic’s U.S. headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey. As part of the course, Panasonic wheeled out an absolutely massive 85-inch 3D plasma for us to train on. Even those of us with 100-inch plus projector/screen set-ups at home gasped at the sheer size of the panel. The TH-85VX200U 3D TV retailed for…$40,000.
Not big enough for you?
How about the 103-inch TH-103VX200U 3D panel for $65,000? Or, if you think 103-inches wouldn’t make an impression on your living room wall, Panasonic also offers the 152-inch TH-152UX1 3D 4K2K HDTV for $480,000 (plus installation). Considering $480,000 will buy you a nice house (or two) in various parts of the United States, the Panasonic seems a little overboard, never mind the structural support required to safely hold the 1,200 pound monster in place.
But those are professional displays, designed for commercial use. Still there are TV’s targeted at your living room which are just as outrageous. Bang & Olufsen, for instance, offers the Beovision 4-85 and 4-103 85-inch and 103-inch 3D plasma HDTVs for home use at $140,000.
If the Panasonic and Bang & Olufsen HDTVs don’t send a twinkle up and down your leg, consider the $140,000 Yalos Diamond LCD which is encrusted with 160 2-carat diamonds, available in sizes up to 46-inches. We’re not sure if the Yalos is still available, but we do know that some were sold when it first launched a few years ago.
Finally, the most ridiculous HDTV we’ve ever seen was offered by Stuart Hughes. His Supreme Rose Edition PrestigeHD 55-inch 1080p model went for a paltry $2.26 million; it must be all those diamonds that add so much to the overall viewing experience.
Still think the 85-inch Samsung S9 Ultra HDTV is overpriced? We do too, but maybe it isn’t as outrageous we all first thought.