11M-Plus North American Homes Will Have UHD TVs By Year-End

More than 11 million homes in North America will own an 4K/Ultra HD TV by the end of 2016 amid falling prices and as 1080p sets continue to fade from the marketplace, Strategy Analytics said in a forecast released this week.

Under the current rate of growth, one in eight homes in the region will have a UHD TV, the research firm said.

Looking further ahead, Strategy Analytics expects all 40-inch or larger TVs sold in North America to be of the UHD variety, setting the stage for nearly one in every two homes in the region to have one.

"2160p resolution has almost become a given in the large screen TV market and attention is now turning to other attributes that fall under the Ultra HD umbrella such as high dynamic range, wide color gamut and high frame rates,” David Watkins, director of Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices unit, said in a statement. “A high proportion of mid to high-end Ultra HD TVs sold this year will support HDR which in combination with higher resolution and enhanced color representation will deliver a significant step change improvement to the TV viewing experience beyond resolution alone."

"The uptake of Ultra HD bears many of the same hallmarks as the early days of ‘basic’ HD in that TV manufacturers have been very quick to seed the market with the necessary displays but there is very little in the way of content in order to take advantage of the full potential of the technology,” added Chirag Upadhyay, an analyst with the firm’s Connected Home Devices division.

While OTT services like Amazon and Netflix are early to the game with 4K content, MVPDs such as AT&T/DirecTV, Rogers Communications and Videotron have been getting into the act.

Comcast offers a small selection of 4K content through an app for Samsung smart TVs. While 4K will be part of Comcast’s mix going forward, the operator is placing more emphasis on HDR content that can be supported on both 4K and HD TVs. The Xi5, Comcast’s first box with HDR capabilities, is slated to start shipping on July 4. The Xi6, a device that supports both HDR and 4K, is also in development.

“When we evaluated this -- while there's hyper-attention on 4K, when we look at the total video experience, we think 4K is part of the offering. But HDR, which is not necessarily getting the same amount of attention, is in many ways more immersive and, we think, impactful. Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s executive vice president and general manager, video services, said in a recent interview.