As 2018 draws to a close, consumer interest in 4K UHD continues to climb, receiving a further push due to average retail prices reaching parity with HDTV sets, according to the latest market tracking report from Futuresource Consulting.
“This year, we’re expecting annual 4K UHD TV shipments to power past 100 million units,” said Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource, “and the market will continue to grow with double-digit CAGR throughout our forecasting period to 2022.
“What’s more, high dynamic range—HDR—is beginning to make its presence felt and will be included in over half of all 4K UHD TVs sold worldwide in 2018, though consumer understanding remains limited.”
The Word From the Regions
Looking to the regions, Asia Pacific leads the way in volume, helped along by China, the largest single market for 4K UHD. North America has also seen strong uptake of 4K UHD, with rapidly declining prices and a general preference for larger screens to match the larger-than-average homes in the region. In Europe, the positive picture continues, with Futuresource anticipating shipments to grow by 30 percent this year.
Hardware Beyond the TV Set
The global UHD Blu-ray player market continues to swell, with this year’s shipments on track to almost double the installed base of standalone players. UHD-compatible media streamers are also pushing forward, with shipments rising over 85 percent year-on-year in 2018, accounting for nearly half of all media streamer shipments. Games consoles are also playing their part, significantly increasing the installed base of UHD Blu-ray capable homes and bolstered by consumers updating consoles and taking advantage of upgrades available for both the PlayStation and Xbox.
The Outlook for UHD Content
“When it comes to the content, SVoD remains the primary gateway for consumers to get their UHD fix,” said Veale. “Netflix is the key service driving UHD SVoD spend. Depending on the country, around 20 percent to 30 percent of subscribers have opted for the UHD premium tier.
“UHD Blu-ray content continues to progress ahead of the expectations of many, with global consumer spend on track to reach $360 million this year. UHD Blu-ray has held onto its price premium and, as a result, consumer spend continues to outperform digital sell-through of UHD, despite the volumes being almost identical.
“Broadcast UHD has also received a welcome boost in 2018, with February’s Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup accelerating many broadcasters’ plans to introduce 4K UHD coverage, making high-quality streams available. However, for wider uptake, a reduction in the cost to deliver UHD and HD broadcasts simultaneously is needed. IP delivery is expected to be key to this, at least in the short to medium term.”