4K UHD TV shipments soar 633% in 2014; U.S. to near 50% penetration by 2020

Shipments of 4K/Ultra HD TVs soared 633% in 2014, as demand in Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe drove the market.

Strategy Analytics said 12.1 million units shipped in 2014 with three-quarters destined for APAC, 12% to North America and 11% to Western Europe; the researched said it expects shipments to more than double in 2015 to some 27.5 million units and to surpass 100 million units shipped annually by 2018.

The report said nearly half of TV homes in the United States likely would own a 4K TV by 2020.

“Ultra HD will become the standard resolution for virtually all large screen TVs within three to four years’ time and we will see it penetrate further into smaller screen sizes as manufacturing efficiencies improve,” said David Watkins, Service Director, Connected Home Devices. “As we saw with the transition from SD to HD, it is the TV manufacturers who are leading the Ultra HD charge although significant steps are being made on the delivery infrastructure and content production parts of the value chain.”
Watkins said price competition will force margins down, and already is resulting in TV vendors adding support for wider color gamuts and high dynamic range in order to differentiate their models and charge a premium over ‘standard’ Ultra HD models.

While the United States is expected to emerge as the leading market for 4K or Ultra HD TVs in terms of household penetration, Western Europe (>35%), LatAm (nearly 25%) as well as Australia, South Korea and China all are expected top exceed the >20% household penetration expected by 2020.

Strategy Analytics said demand for UHD TVs is soaring worldwide as entry level price points drop well below $1,000, model availability expands and consumers seek out the next best technology as they upgrade their ageing flat panel TVs.

The report said 60% of all Ultra HD TVs shipped globally in 2014 were 50-inch or larger in size, while a quarter of all 50-inch and larger TVs that shipped were Ultra HD. Sub 50-inch Ultra HD TVs will become more widely available in 2015 and the sub 50-inch category will account for the majority of Ultra HD TV shipments globally by the end of 2016.

Last month, Futuresource Consulting said shipments of 4K sets grew 699% in 2014 to 11.6 million units, with the growth being driven by over-the-top services and “signs that broadcasters support will be forthcoming.”

But, Futuresource warned, it believed growth could be short-lived as technology for 8K was “on the horizon.”

“There is speculation as to whether the window for 4K will be short-lived,” it said.

As with Strategy Analytics, Futuresource predicts some 100 million UHD sets will ship annually by 2018, and agrees reduced screen sizes would be a driver.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn