More than half a million 4K ultra high-definition TVs are forecast to ship worldwide this year, growing to more than 7 million by 2016, according to the latest report from NPD DisplaySearch. The 4K trend was first seen at IFA 2012 and continued at the 2013 International CES, as TV manufacturers search for the next technology transition to attract consumers to upgrade their current TVs.
The display industry is racing to launch more 4K screen sizes and to mobilize production in larger volumes, with even OLED 4K sets being demonstrated. Sony, LG, Samsung, and Sharp are all moving forward with this technology, along with other Japanese brands, the six leading Chinese brands, and value-oriented brands such as Vizio, Westinghouse and Funai. In addition to vertical integration by the major players, merchant panel suppliers such as AUO and Innolux are working with several manufacturers on 4K. Initial efforts in test broadcasting and standardization are also underway.
“The efforts throughout the supply chain for 4K have begun to align. Panel makers are producing 4K screen sizes ranging from 50:-110” and there is also a push to increase TV content. The availability of content is key to consumer adoption of 4K TVs, and TV manufacturers are anxious to prevent any potential delays that could stall adoption, as was the case with 3DTVs,” said Paul Gray, director of TV electronics research for NPD DisplaySearch.
4K UHD TV Shipment Forecast by Region
All numbers are in thousands
Investments are beginning to ensure that 4K UHD content is readily available to consumers. Several announcements about proprietary 4K streaming and download services were made at CES; however, satellite and cable services from established providers will take some time.
China is forecast to lead in demand for 4K UHDTVs, with shipments forecast to grow from 333 thousand in 2013 to more than 2.6 million in 2016. North America is forecast to follow, with just over 2 million forecast to ship in 2016.
“Initially, we expect to see the highest 4K adoption in China, Japan and Western Europe, as these regions typically prefer the latest highly-featured products. On the other hand, North American consumers are generally more likely to delay purchases of new technology, like 4K, until prices fall. However, because demand is heavily skewed towards large screens in this market, there is a significant opportunity,” added Mr. Gray.