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4K TV Shipments Surge After Slow Start

Alan Breznick
11/27/2014

Despite a relative lack of UltraHD content, 4K TVs are starting to make an impact on the retail market just in time for the holiday shopping season.

In its latest report on the global TV business, DisplaySearch found that 4K TV shipments surged more than 500% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter, jumping to 3 million sets. With that increase, consumer electronics manufacturers have now shipped 6.4 million UltraHD sets across the globe during the first nine months of the year.

While 4K TV prices remain relatively high, shipments are accelerating because of "broader competition and more accessible price points," according to DisplaySearch. Paul Gagnon, director of global TV research at DisplaySearch, also credited the start of "a renewed replacement cycle in some key regions" for primary TVs, with consumers seeking even larger screens and higher resolution levels than before.

But it may take more than that to fuel continued strong growth for 4K, Gagnon noted. "With a scarcity of content and streaming options, much of the early success for 4K will rely on adoption campaigns from brands and price competition that will make it more affordable," he said.

China is taking the big early lead in 4K TV adoption, according to the report. DisplaySearch estimates that China accounted for more than 60% of the UltraHD set shipments in the summer quarter, easily outpacing all other nations and regions. Not surprisingly, then, China now commands the largest chunk of 4K TVs globally, with a 13% share of the overall market. Western Europe comes next with a 6% share of the market, up significantly since the beginning of the year.


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With a recently expanded lineup of 4K sets, Samsung Corp. is far and away the leader in the global market among the consumer electronics manufacturers. DisplaySearch figures that Samsung captured 36% of the shipment revenue in the third quarter, more than double the revenue share of any of its closest rivals. LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) came in second with a 15% share, followed by Hisense Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd. with a 10% share.

The fresh market data comes as service and content providers continue to gear up for the coming 4K era. In the US, for example, DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) has started a 4K programming library, while Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has made noises about introducing a 4K streaming video app.

In addition, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) has launched a 4K content library and programming tier, while Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) plans to start offering 4K titles free to some of its video subscribers. (See Netflix Shifts 4K Video to Premium Tier.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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Kruz
Kruz
12/1/2014 | 7:00:05 AM
Re: Looks great, but....
I was just indicating that 4k TVs might just be another BlueRay disks. At one point they were trendy but quickly overshadowed by a newer technology.
Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
11/30/2014 | 4:52:29 PM
Re: Looks great, but....
Kruz,

 

You are correct, but some people always want to have the latest and greatest, even if the latest products are sub-standard (think Windows Vista) and there are better items coming (think of anyone who buys a laptop only to find a month later it's outdated).
thebulk
thebulk
11/30/2014 | 12:00:44 PM
Re: Looks great, but....
@Kruz, that is a valid point about the standards, I have not looked at all the specs of the Apple display to know what quality improvements it really offers over the current 4K displays. I guess I will have to take a deeper look. 
Kruz
Kruz
11/29/2014 | 8:28:18 AM
Re: Looks great, but....
In addition to a lack of content, there is no guarantee that the 4k standard will be a standard with Apple already presenting their new 27" iMac with Retina Display that can deliver 5k quality.
kq4ym
kq4ym
11/28/2014 | 5:09:05 PM
Re: Looks great, but....
It's still going to be a matter of getting programming to meet the demand of viewer. No 4K programs, and it's going to be difficult to convince me to put out the big bucks for the receiver. But, the price will certainly come down from the stratosphere for those units and that surely will help drive sales. Here's hoping China can keep putting out some quailtiy 4K at better and better prices!
thebulk
thebulk
11/28/2014 | 9:43:22 AM
Re: Looks great, but....
I wish I could get Netflix where I live, if I could then I would strongly consider a 4K TV
SachinEE
SachinEE
11/28/2014 | 7:29:37 AM
China's production power
Since we are talking about UHD TV's here and China seems to be the most valuable consumer of UHD but since most of the world does not have such a high bitrate of signals coming in, where China's developed regions are furnished with such. Naturally the consumption in China would be a lot more.
SachinEE
SachinEE
11/28/2014 | 7:26:24 AM
Re: Looks great, but....
I think channel providers should upgrade to better reception in 4K because of so little content.

I read this from an article:

"The adaptive bitrate system used had little tolerance, defaulting to regular HD whenever it dipped below 36Mbps"

Significantly, IP delivery required 36Mbps. When pushed on what might be a commercially viable 4K stream, one BBC engineer offered: "Possibly 25Mbps?"

This in itself shows just what a remarkable job Netflix is currently doing with its 4K streaming service, which requires a mere 15.6Mbps.

thebulk
thebulk
11/27/2014 | 2:15:10 PM
Looks great, but....
There is no doubt that when you see the display TV at the store they look absolutly amazing, but once you get it home there is a serious lack of content at 4K, so what is the real point of having one at this time? 
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