4KTV will be marginal until 2017

Not much demand for the expensive sets in the near future

October 8, 2012
Toshiba 55ZL2

4KTV won’t start getting anything like a foothold in the market until 2017, according to the latest research from IHS iSuppli, and even then it will be a slender one.

This year, of course, has seen the introduction of 4K sets, or Ultra Definition (UDTV), which sport a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160; in other words, equivalent to four HD sets put together.

However, shipments of 4KTVs will never account for more than 1 per cent of the LCD television market for the next five years, so reckons iSuppli. In 2017, the firm thinks that 4KTVs will shift 2.1 million units – 0.8 per cent of the market. (This year, around 4,000 4KTVs will be shifted).

We’d certainly agree with that assumption – and the reasons are fairly obvious. 4KTV sets
require a large display, as it’s pointless having all that detail on a smaller model – hence the ones unveiled this year have been 84 inch, very expensive models.

Couple this with the extremely limited amount of actual 4KTV content, and there’s not really much point getting a 4KTV currently. Upscaling HD footage might be interesting, but will have pretty limited results we’d imagine – and when it comes to glasses-free 3D sets employing 4K, like the Toshiba 55ZL2, these are still pretty ropey in terms of the actual tech.

It would seem that IHS views 4KTV as potentially just a transitional product, anyway.

Tom Morrod, director, TV systems and technology research for IHS, commented: “The 4K sets can fill the gap at the high-end of television brands’ product lines until the arrival of the next-generation active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes televisions (AMOLED TVs).”

“Japanese brands are offering 4K product because they need to have a competitive alternative to the AMOLED TVs being sold by their rivals in South Korea, Samsung and LG Electronics. Meanwhile, the South Korean companies are having difficulties producing AMOLED panels, saying they will need two more years to achieve competitive volume and pricing. Therefore, the Korean brands are offering 4K sets as a transitional step until their AMOLED televisions are more widely available.”


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