When Will the 8K Display Market Start?

By Yoonsung Chung

UHD (4K) resolution is becoming mainstream in the high-end TV market. UHD TV panel shipments reached only 63K in 2012, but jumped to 19M in 2014. IHS forecasts 4K TV panel penetration will double in 2015, reaching 15%. Penetration is forecast to increase to over 30 percent in 2018.

But as usual, resolution continues to be pushed even higher. So the next question is, when will 8K displays start to penetrate the market?

Japan and Korea are the most advanced countries in 4K broadcasting, but even they have only pilot broadcasting and limited 4K for satellite and cable, not for terrestrial broadcasting. Yet, the industry continues to push forward with the resolution trend even when the eco-system is not prepared.

Once a resolution is introduced to the market, it continues to grow for around six years. Then, a new, higher resolution replaces it. For example, HD resolution grew from 2000 to 2006 and then began to disappear as FHD resolution was introduced. FHD resolution then increased up to 2012, along with the digital transition worldwide. But FHD started to decline with the rise of UHD resolution.


Therefore, it seems possible that 8K display penetration could start around 2018. In fact, Japan is considering 8K broadcasting in the 2018-2020 timeframe. From an industry perspective, 2018 is a reasonable year to introduce 8K displays. 4K penetration is expected to reach over 30 percent penetration and become mature around then. So, 2018 could be the year that industry players need another driver, like 8K, to stimulate the market. If so, leading makers may ramp up their 8K display business in 2015-2016 to take the initiative.

However, there are several key issues in producing 8K displays. First is the resolution itself. 8K needs four times more data processing and pixels in the display. This means that high speed electron mobility backplane technology is required. Another issue is transmittance. It is believed that 8K displays cause poor transmittance compared with typical panels, creating lower brightness, higher costs, and greater power consumption. Finding ways to overcome these issues will be a big challenge for panel makers. It is likely that they will develop more advanced sub-pixel rendering technology for 8K displays.

Korean makers might be more aggressive in 8K since Taiwanese and Chinese makers took the initiative with UHD in its early stages. Korean makers do not want that to happen again with 8K. Therefore, they may begin 8K display mass production in 2016. Japanese and Chinese panel makers are also preparing for the 8K display era. Competition is not visible now, but it will be soon.