As worldwide TV household penetration is quite saturated, the flat-panel TV market has been driven by consumer adoption of TVs with higher resolution, larger screen size, and connected and integrated applications and services. While flat-panel TV makers have announced 8K TV sets, it is the 4K TV market that will continue to grow to cement its place as the mainstream TV format over the next few years. ABI Research forecasts that 4K flat-panel TV shipments will grow at a 13-percent CAGR to reach 233 million in 2024.
Flat-panel TV makers including Samsung, Sony, LG, and TCL announced the introduction of 8K flat-panel TV models, which are priced between USD 5,000 and USD 70,000 depending on the display size. “The cost of 8K TV sets is far from affordable for most consumers. This will limit the sales volume for the foreseeable future; however, we can expect the price points to decline to a more reasonable level over the next several years just as 4K sets have,” comments Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst, ABI Research.
However, the lack of content and distribution models are more significant barriers than cost of 8K TV adoption at the moment. Aside from 8K channels provided by Japanese broadcaster NHK, there are no other 8K broadcast channels currently available, although Korean Broadcasting Corporation (KBS) is working toward an 8K broadcast. While streaming service provider Rakuten recently announced its interest to provide 8K content in late 2019, service providers overall are not ready for 8K content, nor is there much incentive for content providers due to limited 8K TV set adoption at present.
8K content also needs larger data files, which creates challenges in content distribution and data management. Versatile video coding (VVC), which achieved 34 percent higher efficiency over HEVC, is currently in the process of standardization. VVC will play a vital role in driving the 8K TV market when the final standardization completes in 2020. 8K is likely to gain momentum only when challenges are addressed, and the ecosystem evolves.
“For now, 4K will be the dominant format of the flat-panel TV market, and of the content ecosystem as a result. 4K TV household penetration will reach slightly more than half of the TV households in
mature markets, and with penetration still relatively low in emerging markets, there is significant room for 4K market growth in the years to come,” concludes Lynn.