As happened with HD and 3D, the development of 4K technology is being led by the consumer sector, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. Consumer technology is ahead of the rest of the content chain, with the industry marketing 4K-capable TVs and creating an audience.
4K sets are expected to have shipped 11.6 million units in 2014, up 699% year on year, with China accounting for over 70% of worldwide demand (versus 84% in 2013). By 2018 100 million sets are forecast to ship per annum, when ownership will exceed 20% in leading markets. Falling premiums and 4K in smaller screen sizes will drive 4K adoption, while consumers will want to futureproof for 4K content when it becomes available, upscaling will help consumers justify their purchasing decision in the short term.
Futuresource's 4K report reviews progress in the broadcast, video, and display industries. A sustained flow of 4K content will be critical to the long-term success of 4K, says the report. OTT (over-the-top) video services are driving early roll-out of 4K video services with several now available in the market; disc playback of 4K content will not be a possibility until late 2015. Several further propositions are set for launch in 2015-6 from both standalone providers and traditional pay-TV platforms.
"We are seeing several 4K video services now available in the market, driven by over-the-top video services, and we are beginning to see signs that broadcasters support will be forthcoming," commented Sarah Carroll, director of sales & marketing, Futuresource Consulting. "However, with 8K on the horizon, there is speculation as to whether the window for 4K will be short-lived."
Futuresource believes that, with the backing of the consumer electronics, television and motion picture industries, there is a positive commercial scenario for consumer 4K, although realistically this is likely to take three to four years at least to develop.
The report outlines the roadmap for 4K broadcast and the barriers and challenges to 4K delivery via broadcast and IP. It looks at the players leading the charge for 4K delivery online, as well as outlining the regions that are driving 4K shipments. It also looks at the current and future outlook for Blu-ray players and the key 4K developments in digital cinema, and review the issues surrounding UHD and its role in the future prospects for 4K, as well as considering whether 8K will surpass 4K.
The Futuresource 4K report also also cover global statistics and five-year forecasts for 4K products and content, as well as household penetration and anticipated market value.