Although a number of major television brands have already taken a stab at the next-generation 4K TV market, these ultra high-definition TVs, or UHDTVs, are unlikely to make an impact in the LCD TV market, according to market research firm, IHS iSuppli. The likes of Sony, LG, and Toshiba first flaunted their 4K models at the recent IFA 2012 consumer electronics show in Berlin, with models touting a pixel format of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, or four times the resolution of 1080p HDTVs. Despite the immersive viewing experience they offer, however, few consumers are likely to purchase one, based on iSuppli's Television Market Tracker report.
Extravagant prices associated with these UHDTV sets, plus the lack of native 4K content have been cited as primary hurdles working against their mass adoption. "Demand for 4K TVs will be negligible over the next few years, with shipments unlikely to account for greater than 1% of the TV market", iSuppli stated. Worldwide shipments of 4K LCD-TVs will hit 2.1 million units in 2017, up from 4,000 in 2012. On the other hand, 4K displays will account for only 0.8 percent of global LCD-TV shipments in five years time, according to the report.
Tom Morrod, iSuppli’s TV Systems and Technology Research Director, added that "the amount of content available at 4K resolution is very limited". Big names such as Sony and LG have already unveiled their 4K sets in Singapore, priced at S$35,999 and S$24,999 respectively. Based on HDTVtest's article, Chinese brands such as Hisense and Konka have also signaled their intentions to enter the market, with claims to release their own 4K TV models before the year is over.
The arrival of OLED TVs have been stalled mainly by the slow production and limited capacity of OLED panels. However, this trend is likely to change for the better as manufacturing techniques improve. In addition, Samsung and LG are both expected to achieve competitive volume and pricing in the next two years.
Morrod concluded by stating that Japanese display makers are hoping that 4K televisions are able to "fill the gap" in the high-end market, and help them to compete with their South Korean competitors before the onset of OLED TVs. Similarly, Korean brands are also offering their 4K sets as a transitional step until their AMOLED TVs become more widely available.