Consumer demand for televisions with the ultra-high-definition 4K resolution will remain negligible for the foreseeable future, despite high profile new products, says a new report.
Worldwide shipments of 4K LCD-TVs will not accounting for more than one per cent of the global liquid crystal display (LCD) TV market during the next five years, according to an IHS iSuppli Television Market Tracker Report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).
It estimates that 4K will account for only 0.8 percent of the global LCD-TV shipments by 2017. They are predicted to rise to 2.1 million units in 2017, up from 4,000 in 2012.
Sony recently announced an 84-inch 4K LCD-TV priced at $25,000. LG Electronics has also launched an 84-inch LCD-TV for $20,000. Toshiba is offering a 55-inch model priced at $10,000. And Chinese brands Hisense and Konka announced that they will launch 84-inch 4K sets this year.
Despite this activity, IHS believes that demand for 4K LCD-TVs will remain low.
"If you have a television that is 60-inches or larger and are watching video that has a 3,840 by 2,160 resolution, then a 4K television makes sense," said Tom Morrod, director, TV systems and technology research for IHS. A limited amount of content is available at the 4K resolution and because of high prices and other issues, the market for super-sized, 60-inch and larger sets is small, at only about 1.5 per cent of total television shipments in 2012. For most people, the 1,080p resolution is good enough. “Because of these factors, combined with the massive price tags, the market for 4K sets during the next few years will be limited to very wealthy consumers or to commercial uses,” says Morrod.
Morrod suggests that leading television brands may be viewing 4K merely as a transitional product. "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)," he says. "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."