Despite a slow start, shipments of 4K TVs are on the rise amid fiercer competition and more palatable price points, according to a new report from DisplaySearch, a unit of IHS.
4K TV shipments surged 500% in the third quarter of 2014 versus the year-ago period, topping 3 million units, and extending total shipments to 6.4 million units through the first three quarters of 2014, DisplaySearch said.
The research firm said China remains the focal point for 4K TV unit volume growth, accounting for more than 60% of global 4K TV shipments in the third quarter. Western Europe was the next strongest region with 6% of 4K TV shipments.
“With a scarcity of content and streaming options, much of the early success for 4K will rely on education campaigns from brands and price compression that will make it more affordable,” Paul Gagnon, director of global TV research at DisplaySearch, said in a release.
Among manufacturers, Samsung led the way with 36% of 4K TV shipment revenue share in the third quarter, followed by LG Electronics (15%), Hisense (10%), Sony (9%) and Changhong (6%).
According to DisplaySearch, overall TV shipments rose 4% year-on-year in the third quarter.
“Consumption for primary TVs is entering a renewed replacement cycle in some key regions, while adoption of larger screens and 4K and other higher resolutions will keep consumers upgrading,” Gagnon added.
Although some video engineers are advocating that consumers wait to buy Ultra HD TVs until prices come down further and more content becomes available, there’s been enough consumer interest in 4K to draw some MVPDs to jump into the action.
Earlier this month, DirecTV became the first U.S. MVPD to introduce a 4K library, with Comcast expected to launch its 4K streaming app before the end of the year.
Elsewhere, Netflix launched a 4K library earlier this year, followed by M-GO, which expects to expand its UHD library to about 100 titles by the end of 2014. Amazon announced earlier this month that Prime subscribers will have free access to 4K titles offered via the company’s Prime Instant Video service.
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