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Crunching the 4K Numbers at CE Week

A conference on Ultra HD TVs – stats, vendor & retailer views

June 24, 2014 By Nancy Klosek
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The “Your Next TV” Conference presentations at 2014 CE Week in New York City Tuesday focused on all aspects of the Ultra HD TV scenario – including on where sales volume numbers will land, once Q4 is said and done. Vendors, too, had their say about where the market is headed – and there was also some commentary from the retail side about whether 4K yet resonates in a big way with TV buyers – and what combination of efforts can help to make the mainstream market more receptive.

Statistical presenters in the “By The Numbers” segment included Paul Gagnon, director of global TV research, NPD DisplaySearch, Jack Wetherill, senior market analyst, Futuresource, and Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research, CEA.

Gagnon said that 4K is currently a technology player in a market in transition, with total global TV demand having peaked in 2011 and now trending sideways. He expects a slight uptick over the next three years. In the North American market, value and size rule among buyers, with sales dictated in part by the flat-panel TV replacement cycle, and by other factors such as consumers upgrading to larger screen sizes and availability of better technologies influencing their purchase decisions. He offered a projection for 2014 4K sales as settling around the 800,000-unit mark, with most sales consummated in the second half. His company also projects precipitous drops in premium pricing of 4K TVs over comparably sized and featured 2K TVs; 4K was roughly 6X higher than 2K in 2013 and should be average less than 2X higher than 2K, he said.

Wetherill said 4K set ownership is expected to well outpace 4K content ubiquity – but substantial UHD TV uptake by consumers will depend on multiple factors besides content, including affordability and content delivery structure. Streaming services are expected by him to be a key 4K content source, as pay TV and packaged media suppliers gear up their content offerings. Broadband will become a key vehicle for content delivery, with more than 60 percent f homes having speedy connections of greater than 15Mbps by 2018.

Wetherill also cited survey results showing “encouraging” awareness levels among consumers about UHD in the U.S., French, German and U.K. markets (42 percent), with consumers either extremely or reasonably interested in considering a purchase (44 percent). For the U.S. market, his company expects that by Year 7 of UHD’s market presence (2018), one quarter of homes will own at least one UHD set.  He cited expectations that over one million UHD TVS will ship in 2014, accounting for three percent of the U.S. TV market and that by 2016, UHD would account for 15 percent of the market (or 5.7 million unit sales). Average UHD pricing, standing at around $2,000 in 2014, should decrease to $1,500 by 2016.
 

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