4K TV take-up set for growth, new research shows

The proportion of North American households with a 4K TV set will pass 10% by the end of 2018, according to a new study by ABI Research.

The report claims that ​Asia-Pacific, and China in particular, is expected to lead Ultra HD TV unit shipments, though North America will be the leader when it comes to 4K adoption and will be the first market to pass 5% adoption in 2017 and 10% at the end of 2018.

ABI said that price will remain “the most critical factor” for 4K TV adoption, but said that OTT services like Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K service will help bridge the content gap and make 4K TVs a more valuable proposition.

However, the research firm warned that forthcoming TV sports events that are due to trial 4K technology will be too soon to have an impact on the Ultra HD market.

“Despite a very limited installed base there have already been a number of 4K trials from broadcasters, pay TV operators, and satellite operators,” said ABI senior analyst Michael Inouye.

“While many point to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and Sochi Winter Olympics as highlights for 4K, these events will have a minimal impact on 4K adoption – it’s simply too early.”

ABI said that as devices that support 4K reach the market – like the upcoming next generation games consoles from Microsoft and Sony – consumer awareness will continue to expand.

“Unlike 3D, which required awkward glasses, 4K has the legs to become an industry norm. This isn’t a sprint, however, and it will take time for the necessary infrastructure, installed base of devices, and content tocome together before 4K becomes an integral part of how the typical TV household consumes video content,” said ABI practice director Sam Rosen.

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