There’s been a lot of speculation and educated guesswork about how long it will take for 4K/Ultra HD to become a mass-market consumer format over the last year. The general thinking seems to be that once the cost of the screens is slashed from the £10-15k price point to a price much more within the reach of tech-enthusiast early adopters things would start to accelerate quickly.

Well, that has now happened at CES 2014, which has kicked off in Vegas, showcasing a plethora of the next generation Ultra HD screens, including a $999 model from Polaroid.

Polaroid’s president and CEO Scott W. Hardy described the 50” Ultra HD 4K Television as, “a state-of-the-art product at an affordable price point”.

We’ll have to see if the floodgates open up with similar priced TVs from competing manufacturers, but for an Ultra HD set to be priced at such an amount so quickly is a sign the adoption of all things 4K might well happen sooner than many had previously expected.

Now all anyone who buys one of these screens needs is a decent range of 4K content to show off their TV and a means of getting hold of that content in the first place.

The dramatic decrease in the cost of ownership of Ultra HD TV screens has triggered analyst IHS to radically increase its forecast for Ultra HD TV sales. It says there will be growth of 500% in Ultra HD LCD TV shipments this year, to 10 million screens shipping in 2014. And by 2018, IHS predicts 38.5million Ultra HD LCD TV sets will be sold.

"While television brands will show off their massive new ultra-high-definition sets at CES, the real focus for Ultra HD makers in 2014 will be cost reduction," says Jusy Hong, senior analyst for consumer electronics & technology at IHS.

“But Ultra HD sets still have a long way to go before they command a major share of the overall market. In 2018, Ultra HD will account for only about 16% of all LCD TV shipments."

Staff Reporter

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