CTA Research on Displays with Focus on OLED, 4K and HDR

In a CTA Research Summit data-centric presentation at CES, the organization’s senior director of market research Steve Koenig summed up the recent trends in TV displays and predicted future directions. Although the TV display is besieged by competition from smartphones and tablets, interest in purchasing a TV is still strong. A recent CTA poll showed that, in the next 12 months, 33 percent plan to buy a smartphone and 29 percent want a TV, followed by smaller percentages for laptops, tablets and video game consoles.

Koenig showed that big screens continue to dominate in the U.S., with 44 percent of consumers aiming to buy a TV with a screen of 40- to 59-inches, and 25 percent wanting at screens of 60-inches and bigger (the average screen size in the U.S. today is 43-inches). The data revealed that 35 percent of consumers are interested in a smart TV and 18 percent in a 4K UHD TV.

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When asked what device they would buy if they could only have one device for viewing, 77 percent chose a traditional TV and 23 percent a nontraditional screen. “I’m building a case that shows ongoing relevance and importance of TVs in American households,” said Koenig. Whereas screen size and great picture quality drive the purchase of TV displays, those interested in nontraditional displays are focused on connectivity, cost and device mobility.

TV display sales volume has been sustained by much lower prices. “The greatest irony — unhappily for manufacturers — is that winning a sale may mean you’re out of business,” said Koenig, who reports that Toshiba exited the TV market this year and many others are “struggling mightily.”

In tracking the growth of Digital TV, Koenig notes that although LCD has taken over the market, OLED is showing some growth, with 1M units expected to sell by 2017. “Very quickly, the industry will pivot to OLED as the upgrade path,” he predicts. “It’ll be more of a next-decade story.”

Bullish on OLED, Koenig describes some of the future form factors: rollable screens (which are being shown at CES 2016), a transparent screen, and wall-sized displays. “Our forecast is that it’ll take time to get to there,” he said. “Where we find OLED mostly is in handsets/smartphones and other small screens.”

With regard to 4K UHD, Koenig notes that sales were nearly 1.8M units in one month heading up to the 2015 holidays and predicts that we’ll see 13M sets in 2016. “China is a big driver, because they have a huge marketplace,” he said. “They’re responsible for the lion’s share of growth.”

Other factors to consider with displays are smart TVs and HDR. He referred to the CES 2016 announcement of the UHD Alliance that agreed to specs for the UHD Display, including SMPTE ST2084 for HDR, “a combination of peak brightness and black level either ore than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level OR more than 540 nits peak brightness and less than .0005 nits black level.”

Koenig notes that the Ultra HD Premium logo will help manufacturers sell TVs; Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures have all committed to issue UHD movie titles by the end of 2016.