Four years at least for 4KTV to become mass market proposition

Joseph O'Halloran | 11-10-2013

It won’t likely do a 3D, but 4KTV’s arrival to global mass markets is still some way off according to new research from Dataxis.

Its report, 4K TV Market and Forecasts (2013-2018), puts a figure of four to five years before 4KTV is a mass market proposition and predicts that there will be 2.2 million 4KTV households at the end of 2013, rising to 66.2 million by end-2018. In addition, it says that global shipments of 4KTV sets will likely exceed 5% of the total annual TV shipments in 2017.
Looking as to where the likely growth will be, the report suggests that the installed base of 4KTV sets in Europe, North America, Japan and South Korea, will also reach 5% in 2018. However, the real star will be China where sales of cheaper, domestic 4KTV sets will likely also help drive the Asia Pacific region to become the single largest market for 4KTV by 2016, accounting for 42% of global 4K TV households.
A key driver for 4KTV uptake in this period will be the replacement of many households’ first flat-screen TV. Dataxis believes that the “plethora” of 4KTV screens already available from different vendors is creating consumer demand and driving sales as existing flat screen and HD displays are replaced.
"The recent standardisation of HEVC/H.265 will improve video quality and double the data compression ratio compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, making it possible to offer native 4K TV content across all TV access platforms," commented Gavin Patterson, research director at Dataxis. "Pay-TV companies are most likely to invest heavily in 4KTV so they can compete against OTA broadcasts and OTT services, with the battle for dominance likely to be reignited between satellite and cable operators."
Despite its measured optimism for 4KTV, Dataxis cautions that even by the end of 2018 just less than three-fifths of households with a 4KTV set will have the potential to access native 4KTV programming. Lack of compelling content is mass availability has to date been one of the key gating factors to 3DTV proliferation.
"The first generation of 4KTV set owners will have to rely on media players, games consoles, and compressed download systems to view 4K content, although many channels have already started running their own 4KTV trials to launch programming around the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics," Patterson concluded.