Shipments of 4K TV sets reached 11.6 million units worldwide last year, an almost 700% increase from 2013, Futuresource Consulting said in its latest report on the emerging video format that was released as final data from 2014 continues to trickle in.
China, the firm said, accounted for more than 70% of worldwide demand, down from 84% in 2013.
Looking ahead, Futuresource sees 4K TV shipments hitting 100 million units per year by 2018.
Falling prices on 4K sets and the expanded availability of content in the format will help to push those numbers up. While disc-based 4K content won’t be a possibility until late 2015, OTT has been taking the initial ground, the report notes.
Among U.S. MVPDs, Comcast and DirecTV have begun to introduce small 4K offerings, emerging alongside streaming and/or download options from sources such as Netflix, M-GO and Amazon. Dish Network will also offer Ultra HD content when it launches its 4K-capable Joey box later this year. Of more recent note, Arris announced this week that it is making a 4K-capable video gateway for Liberty Global.
"We are seeing several 4K video services now available in the market, driven by over-the-top (OTT) video services, and we are beginning to see signs that broadcasters support will be forthcoming," Sarah Carroll, director of sales & marketing for Futuresource Consulting, said in a statement. "However, with 8K on the horizon, there is speculation as to whether the window for 4K will be short-lived."
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