During a recent IFA Global Press Conference in Sardinia, Paul Gray – DisplaySearch's director of TV electronics and Europe TV research, warned of the pitfalls when launching 4K TV services
During his "Global TV Business: New Challenges and Opportunities" speech, he highlighted the launch problems of 3D TV which led to a slower take up than many had predicted. These included poor quality 2D to 3D real time conversion, limited content and poor in-store demos.
Although 4K sets are currently very expensive (for example – LG’s 84” 4K TV retails for over £20,000 in the UK), prices are expected to drop dramatically. In fact, LCDTV manufacturer SEIKI Digital, will launch a 50-inch Ultra HDTV (resolution of 3,840-by-2,160) in the US at the end of this month for just $1500.
But as more 4K TV sets hit the market, Gray warned vendors that they must make sure the sets deliver the additional bits per pixel and higher frame rates needed to produce an exceptional experience.
DisplaySearch expects less than one million 4K Ultra HD sets to ship this year and growing to about seven million units in 2014.
Gray also said broadcast standardisation has started but full commercialisation of content is about two years away. 2014 is the year that Futuresource Consulting also expect 4K channels to launch and we assume BSkyB will be one such broadcaster to do so.
Meanwhile, the number of households owning 3D TV sets is expected to reach 408 million by 2017 according to Informa Telecoms & Media with 112 million of those watching 3D shows, representing about 8% of the world’s TV households.
Our opinion is whilst many in the media see 4K and 3D as competing technologies, there is no reason 4K TV will in any way “replace 3D" in the same way HD does not “replace 3D”. 4K will be far more popular generally as it is the natural evolution after HD requiring no glasses, but 3D will still be a premium event experience in the home which will be even more compelling with the increased resolution.
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