Most Consumers Haven’t Heard Of 4K: Study

In addition to helping consumers get over the sticker shock of the latest, greatest TVs that can display video in the eye-popping 4K/Ultra HD format, TV makers still have a considerable consumer education challenge on their hands.

About 30% of adults have heard of the term, and about one-third of that group has seen a 4K set, Leichtman Research Group found in its 11th annual HDTV-focused consumer survey.

Another challenge facing 4K TV makers – generating interest among consumers who have actually seen an Ultra HD set. According to LRG, which based its study on a survey of 1,231 U.S. households, about 28% of adults who have seen a 4K set are “very interested” in getting one, while 15% of all who have heard of 4K/Ultra HD are likewise very interested in getting it.

While that might be enough for Netflix and Comcast to come forth with limited 4K offerings later this year, TV makers have  more reason to push the 4K needle – the HDTV market is getting saturated.

According to LRG, 77% of U.S. homes have at least one HDTV set, and 46% of all homes have multiple HDTVs. That’s up from a respective 34% and 11% five years ago.

Additionally, 72% of TV sets used in HD homes are hi-def sets. When non-HDTV homes are factored in, 59% of all TV sets used in U.S. have that distinct HD flavor – up from 34% in 2010, 18% in 2008, and a mere 3% in 2004.

Among other findings, LRG said 14% of homes have a smart TV that is actually connected to the Internet, and 22% of homes surveyed purchased a TV set in the past 12 months, “an annual level that has been fairly consistent for the past decade.”

“At the same time that consumers are acquiring an increasing number of devices that allow them to watch video anywhere and anytime, television sets in the home are getting bigger and better,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement. “Nearly 60% of TV sets used in US households are now HD sets, up from less than 20% just five years ago.”