NPD: China Pushing 4KTV Marketing, Sales21 Oct, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
The move toward ultra high-definition 4KTV could expand beyond early adopters as Chinese TV manufacturers aggressively push the format in the world’s second largest economy, according to new research from NPD DisplaySearch.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based research firm said it projects that 1.3 million 4KTV sets (defined as having 3840 × 2160 resolution) will ship globally in 2013, increasing to 23 million units in 2017 — spearheaded by China.
The major reason is that China TV makers are not marketing 4KTV as a premium product with Internet functionality (as in the United States), but rather as smaller-sized models with modest features. Through 2017, China is expected to comprise more than half of all global 4KTV shipments, due to the combination of lower price premiums and the availability of small sizes down to 39 inches.
“4KTV is a completely different feature in China, compared to what it is in the rest of the world,” said Paul Gray, director of European TV research for NPD DisplaySearch.
Regardless, 4KTV broadcast and content chain remains at an early stage of development. As a result, global CE brands such as Samsung, LGE, Sony, Vizio and Panasonic are slowly expanding 4KTV rollouts due ongoing economic concerns and the lack of 4KTV broadcast standards — a key building block for growth, according to NPD. In addition, emerging standards such as HDMI 2.0, are critical to the content chain.
“It is quicker to design a TV than it is to craft a broadcasting standard that will endure for at least a decade,” Gray said. “Once standards are ratified and broadcast services start to roll out, then global brands will accelerate and launch more mainstream products.”
NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke remains impressed with 4K resolution and its potential in home entertainment.
“The picture quality takes your breath away,” he told an investor group last month. “I have no doubt 4K is going to occur. To me the question is: How quickly can things go?”
The cable executive tempered his enthusiasm for the new high-definition format by remembering the time it took HDTV to take off and the disappointment of 3DTV. In addition, Burke said 4KTV prices have to come down significantly — a reality he admitted won’t happen unless there is consumer adoption.
Indeed, NPD’s Gray said China’s rollout of 4KTV units is easier than creating 4KTV broadcasts and networks.
“Once standards are ratified and broadcast services start to roll out, then global brands will accelerate and launch more mainstream products,” Gray said.