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HDR TV Shipments Booming

6 Nov, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sales of televisions featuring high dynamic range (HDR) are skyrocketing, according to a new report from IHS Markit. A mainstay of 4K UHD, HDR as a standalone feature for non-4K TVs is growing in popularity for consumers looking for more-realistic screen images at a lower price than 4K.

The London-based research firm says HDR TV shipments will grow from 12.2 million in 2017 to 47.9 million in 2021, with a further 88.6 million HDR-enabled sets — with HDR decoding, not display capability — shipping in 2021.

“[HDR] has been conclusively demonstrated to have the biggest impact with viewers, and what’s more, the effect works regardless of screen size or resolution,” Paul Gray, associate director for consumer devices at IHS Markit, said in a statement.

The report suggests just 23% of the ultra-high-definition televisions that ship in 2017 will offer full HDR functionality. Meanwhile, most TVs will be able to decode a HDR signal, but lack the high contrast capability to display HDR content to an advantage.

The reason: Cost of backlights for liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) remains the biggest obstacle to HDR.

“In locations where the airwaves are congested, broadcasters have no spare space to transmit the extra data required for 4K UHD. However, HD with HDR provides a huge increase in perceived quality for a very low data overhead, and that’s incredibly interesting,” Gray said.

IHS Markit forecasts North America will lead with 14.6 million HDR sets shipping in 2021, with China second with 11.8 million units.

“While Chinese consumers are buying the biggest TV sets these days, price sensitivity is higher and UHD content is scarcer,” Gray said.

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