December 16, 2014
Ultra HD displays will deliver on last year’s promise at the 2015 International CES next month. Expect to see 4K/UHD sets with very attractive prices. Set manufacturers Vizio and Acer have already launched 4K displays for $1,000 and under, and other manufacturers are likely to unveil similarly low-cost models. Chinese UHD display manufacturers, that have had a strong presence at recent CES events, will continue their efforts to understand the U.S. consumer and break into the U.S. market at lower price points.
According to a report from DisplaySearch, sales of UHD units in 2014 topped 6.4 million in 2014. NPD Group also reported that 4K UHD accounts for 7 percent of flat panel sales revenue in U.S.
Unlike 3D TVs, which never gained traction with consumers, viewers are taking a serious look at UHD screens… and they like what they see. According to a December 10, 2014 report by Strategy Analytics, “93 percent of U.S. consumers who had seen Ultra HD or 4K TV found it ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat” impressive.”
Even more impressive is the growth in consumer awareness about UHD. The same report noted a double-digit jump from 39 percent in January 2014 to 57 percent in November. Growth in awareness and interest is likely propelled, at least in part, by the growth in content being offered — and touted — by a variety of outlets.
In the U.S., 4K streaming services are already offering UHD content, among them Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Sony Unlimited Video Service, M-GO and Vimeo. DirecTV is also preparing to launch a 4K video-on-demand service in 2015, to TVs compatible with 4K displays from Samsung.
Amazon has announced its own affordable plan; Prime Club members have access to UHD movies and TV at no extra charge to the $99 annual fee. A 4K channel on YouTube is of interest to consumers who plan to shoot and post video with one of the many smartphones that feature a 4K camera.
International UHD programming includes Germany’s Maxdome, Italy’s Chili, U.K. and Spain’s Wuaki.tv and, in Korea, CNM and T-Broad.
UHD isn’t the end of the display evolution, however. At CES 2015, some Dolby partners will be showcasing Dolby Vision displays with wider dynamic range and a fuller, warmer color palette. On the show floor, expect to see other examples of the vendor technologies and content creation driving the SMPTE work on wider color gamut and higher dynamic range.
LG will also show off its prototype 8K 55-inch display, “Mabinogion.” The display features a resolution of 33.2 million pixels, more than 20 display driver integrated circuits, and a brightness of 500 nits.
The ETCentric reporting team will be at CES January 5-9 to provide you with live reports from the show floor. Be sure to check back with us in the new year.
CES 2015 TV Tech: 4K All the Way, CNET, 12/12/14
CES 2015: LG Expected to Unveil its New 55-Inch 8K Display, ETCentric, 12/12/14
Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members, ETCentric, 12/10/14
DirecTV is the First Pay TV Provider to Offer 4K Ultra HD VOD, ETCentric, 11/17/14