China to push 4K TV into mainstream adoption

Michelle Clancy | 24-12-2013

Interest in 4K UltraHD is “at a fever pitch,” according to NPD DisplaySearch, as the inflection between early adopters and uptake from more mainstream consumers approaches.

Rapidly falling prices, particularly in China, will fuel adoption, the firm said. “As the manufacturers of 4K×2K TV LCD panels and sets expect strong growth in 2014, the supply chain focus on growing demand is rising dramatically,” noted Paul Gagnon, director for global TV research at NPD DisplaySearch.

“Panel makers are planning for nearly 27 million 4K×2K TV panels to be produced next year, while brands have somewhat more modest expectations for the end market. There is a significant difference in outlook between China and other regions.”

Shipments within China will lead all other regions combined by a factor of three in 2014. Advanced, 4K TV shipments are expected to total 1.9 million units in 2013, rising to 12.7 million units in 2014. China will have an 87% share of 4K TV units in 2013, dropping only slightly to 78% in 2014.

Eventually other regions will catch up, but China will remain the leading region throughout the forecast, enabled by intense competition and very low price points. Average prices are expected to fall below $1,000 in China during 2014, while the worldwide average remains over $1,100 and close to $2,000 in North America.

The firm said that 4K offers new opportunity in a maturing marketplace. Overall TV demand is expected to fall 3% in 2013, after a 6% decline in 2012. Overall demand in many regions is still affected by the accelerated demand in 2010 and 2011, which pulled in demand from future years.

Total TV shipments should grow about 1% in 2014 to 229 million units, with LCD TV shipments rising to 220 million, or 96% of overall units. Plasma and CRT TV shipments are declining rapidly, ending by 2016.

“OLED TV technology is not expected to yield significant growth for two to three more years,” Gagnon said. “4K×2K has therefore become a technology focal point in the interim.”