4K TV Adoption Outpacing HDTV Transition

Though the adoption of 4K video by programmers and service providers hasn’t occurred as quickly as some vendors were expecting, U.S. consumer adoption of 4K-capable TVs has been outpacing, and will continue to outpace, the transition to HDTV sets, according to the Consumer Technology Association.

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CTA said Q4 shipments of 4K/Ultra HD TVs to the U.S. will hit 4.5 million units, driving total sales in the category for 2016 to 10 million, a 40% jump versus 2015. However, the CTA did acknowledge that current expected results will fall short of its earlier forecast that total unit sales for the year would reach 14.5 million.

CTA said the updated forecast reflects finalized Q2 data showing “a more gradual growth curve’ as TV makers shift to new models, "We also expected to see TV manufacturers move more quickly to a greater mix of 4K in screen sizes above 40 inches, which now appears to be shaping up as a 2017 trend," Steve Koenig, CTA's senior director, Market Research, said in a statement.

He added that the growth of the 4K market “continues to dwarf the transition to high-definition television.” To wit, cumulative sales of 4K displays are expects to reach 18.6 million units in the first three years of introduction, compared to 4.2 million for HDTVs.

The org said it expects 4K displays to account for 56% of all TV sales in Q4, and sees nearly half of total annual TV sales to be of 4K-capable sets.

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Aiding consumer adoption is lower pricing, as CTA said the wholesale price of 4K TVs has dropped 22% since January.

"We've been bullish about 4K UHD since day one, and market growth continues to justify our enthusiasm," said Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO, in a statement, while also giving the nod to wider-spread use of High Dynamic Range and Wide Color Gamut systems.

2016, he said, has been a “banner year” for 4K, noting strong sales of other elements of the ecosystem, including the increasing introduction of 4K/UHD Blu-ray discs (much more on that part of the 4K sector will be featured in the Next TV section of the Nov. 14 issues of Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News) and 4K cameras.