Thanks to falling production costs leading to declines in average selling prices (ASPs), shipments of ultra-high-definition (UHD) 4K desktop monitors are expected to increase steadily. Still, that increase will not mean that displays with 3840*2160 resolution will become a de-facto standard for high-end PCs and workstations.
According to a new report from NPD DisplaySearch, even as overall desktop monitor demand falls to 133 million units in 2014, 4K UHD monitor shipments will reach two million units, or 1.5% of the market. At present, 4K monitors are targeted for applications like computer graphics, photo processing, CAD/CAM, and multi-operation environments; however, as ASPs decline, the 4K market will expand to encompass standard office operations that require more data on a single screen.
Two million displays with 3840*2160 resolution is not a lot. It is less than the amount of high-end enthusiast-class graphics cards sold per year. Therefore, two million 4K displays may not be enough for professionals and gamers. Keeping in mind that DisplaySearch tends to release conservative predictions early in the year regarding the high-end of the market, the number of 4K displays shipped may be considerably higher than two million units.
The average selling price for 4K monitors this year is forecast to decline from $1347 in 2014 to $927 in 2017. By 2017 shipments are forecast to reach approximately 8% of the market, up from 1.5% expected this year.
“Increased 4K-class monitor shipment volume will depend on how far and how fast ASPs decline. Although manufacturers hope toraise prices for 4K-enabled monitors, price competition has already begun,” said Hidetoshi Himuro, director of PC and IT research at NPD DisplaySearch.
Dell recently started to sell an 4K monitor for $699. The 28” Ultra HD Monitor (P2815Q) offers 3840*2160 resolution with 30Hz refresh rate, which may be enough for movies and is definitely enough for productivity applications, but is barely sufficient for gamers who want to have 60Hz refresh rate (which is only supported in 1920*1080 resolution). The display features anti-glare TN panel technology that supports 30-bits colour depth (1.073 billion colours), 5ms response time and 300cd/m2 brightness. The monitor features DisplayPort/mDP v1.21 and HDMI 1.4/MHL 2.0 inputs as well as integrated USB 3.0 hub.
Initial 4K monitors from Sharp, Asustek Computer, Dell and other brands include 23.8", 28", and 31.5" sizes. With many 4K monitors smaller than 30" launching in 2014, 27" is expected to be the average 4K monitor display size.
“During CES Lenovo, LGE, and Samsung all made 4K monitor announcements, and we can expect several more from other brands this year, as well,” Himuro said. “Sharp, Innolux, LGD, AUO, and Samsung will be the leading 4K monitor panel suppliers in 2014.”
The majority (56%) of 4K monitor demand in 2014 will come from advanced regions, like Japan, North America, and Western Europe.