China is set to dominate the 4K market this year with forecasts that it will ship 42% of all TVs during 2017. According to IHS research during 2016, over 25 million 4KTVs shipped in China and the analysts expect that by 2020 that number will almost double to 44 million. This represents the same as Western Europe and North America combined. “China is on a different trajectory to the rest of the world when it comes to 4KTVs. It is getting hard to buy a large screen TV in China without 4K,” said IHS Markit principal analyst Paul Gray.
In Western Europe, more than eight million 4KTVs shipped in 2016 with expectations that this number is forecast to increase to 19 million in 2020. While in North American shipments are set to more than double, from 11.7 million in 2016 to 25.9 million in 2020.
The research also points to increased aggressive competition in the LCD display industry fuelling a pixel race. Panel-makers have added 8K resolutions to their road maps and product plans, a process that will accelerate as new Chinese LCD fabs start production, the report states.
8k does pose a few challenges as high pixel density demands either a very large screen or short viewing distance. The analysts predict that China will dominate 8K shipments as its early-adopting consumers are likely to be eager for new features. With 65” will be the dominant 8K size, driven by affordable pricing in China. In terms of 8k being a mainstream reality, it is still a way off as Japan is planning 8K broadcasts from 2020, but for most regions 8K video content will remain a scarce commodity in the near term.
Meanwhile on the content front, Amazon and Netflix are actively acquiring 4k documentaries and films, in addition to producing their own content using UHD technologies.
In the UK, Netflix offers 63 UHD titles, Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant have 28 and Sky has 26. Online video producers are offering a broader range of UHD genres than traditional pay TV platforms.
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