UHD TV Market Forecast Discussed at CE Week 2013

4K-0713By Norbert Hildebrand

One of the highlights of the CE Week 2013 show floor were the UHD TV sets from several manufacturers. At the same time, they also held the Ultra HD Conference at the same location. The conference covered topics surrounding Ultra HD from product, market and technology standpoints.

In the first section, Shawn DuBravac from CEA, Paul Gagnon from DisplaySearch and Jack Wetherill from Futuresource discussed their views of the Ultra HD market in the coming years.

CEA sees the U.S. Ultra HD market developing strongly correlated to the trend to larger TVs in the market. Over the last few years, the average screen size has grown significantly. While the average screen size was only 27″ in 2003, 2012 saw already an average of 37″. This trend is believed to continue. At the same time, the percentage of units with 60″ or above sizes are growing readily and are expected to reach 11 percent of the U.S. market by 2016. In the same year, CEA believes that over 1.4 million, or roughly 5 percent of the TV market, will comprise Ultra HD TV sets in the U.S. Their optimism is based on the fact that Google searches for “4K” are increasing strongly in the U.S. since the beginning of 2013. They see this as an indication of a broader consumer interest.

While DisplaySearch saw a contraction in the worldwide TV market in recent years, they believe that in 2013 and going forward, the TV market will be growing slowly but steadily. By 2016 the TV market will reach around 250 million units worldwide, with LCD and OLED being the only remaining technologies of commercial importance.

When it comes to adoption of new features, the U.S. has lagged in recent years, be it 3D, LED or connected TVs.  Regions like China, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Japan are much more innovation friendly and shown higher adoption rates. With current Ultra HD TV set pricing, this technology addresses a very small portion of the market. According to their numbers, the Ultra HD TV addresses less than 5 percent of the total market. With decreasing prices this percentage will increase accordingly. Their forecast of Ultra HD TV sets in 2016 is around 11 million worldwide, and 2.5 million for North America.

Futuresource sees the the adoption of Ultra HD in the TV space being limited by content. As the adoption of HD in homes is still an ongoing process. According to their numbers, 79 percent of homes had a HD TV in 2012 while only 49 percent of all households accessing HD on pay TV last year. They also argue that much of the worldwide HD TV adoption happened after 2006, leaving many households with relatively new sets in their home. These two issues will slow adoption of Ultra HD TV adoption. By year 9 of market introduction (around 2022) they see the market penetration reaching 19 percent of the households compared to 54 percent for HD TVs. They did not discuss a sales forecast at the conference.

Overall the analysts were cautiously optimistic that Ultra HD will be a success in the market based on the trend to larger TV sets and fast price declines.