CES 2015: UHD Alliance, Quantum Dot to drive global 4KTV

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 10 January 2015

In its round-up of developments at CES 2015, technology analyst Futuresource Consulting predicts that the coming year will see the 4K/Ultra HD market almost double in size over the course of 2015.

samsung SUHDFuturesource survey data calculates that by the end of 2015 Ultra HD's share of global TV sales will have risen by six percentage points year on year to 11%. This compares with a mere 1% in 2013 and the prospects are for Ultra HD to account for nearly a fifth of all sales by the end of 2016.

The analyst was also keen to point out that compared with a year ago the word's leading TV set manufacturers were much better placed to take advantage of demand for 4K TV services. Indeed it believed that as much as 60% of LG's range is now Ultra HD.

"Ultra HD is being pushed hard by TV vendors keen to extract profit from the notoriously difficult business of making margin from TV sets," commented Futuresource senior market analyst Jack Wetherill. "One of the big concerns though has been whether consumers would really see the benefit of having a 4K screen. It requires more than just a high pixel rate to deliver the wow factor, as there are benefits to be gained from wider colour gamut, high dynamic range and immersive audio.

"Many sets last year lacked some of the basic features required to enjoy 4K content in the future - namely HDMI 2.0 and HEVC...However, the real boost to the industry is the announcement here at International CES of the UHD Alliance, a global coalition of leading film studios, TV brands, content distributors, post-production and technology companies that aim to create a unified criterion for premium Ultra HD platforms...Without doubt, Ultra HD is on the ascent."

Looking at other drivers, Futuresource noted Dish TV unveiling a service in the US and Netflix announcing support for HDR (High Dynamic Range) later in 2015 and also Quantum Dot technology which is set to deliver the high quality display of such services but at a fraction of the cost of OLED, what has long been expected as the prime candidate Ultra HD display technology. Such technology issued by the likes of Sony and Samsung in their 4K/UltraHD sets.

"Although OLED has been poised to land for years, it hasn't quite got past the issues of production cost," Wetherill added. " OLED is renowned for its fantastic quality due to superior contrast, but ...emerging from the shadows is Quantum Dot which offers much improved contrast, but at a fraction of OLED's cost. Unless costs come down dramatically, the Quantum dot will suffice, leaving OLED as famous for its price as for its impressive blacks."