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Dataxis forecasts explosive growth for Ultra HD TV worldwide

Global shipments of 4K Ultra HD TV sets will exceed 5 percent of all annual TV shipments in 2017, while the installed base of 4K TV sets in Europe, North America and mature Asian markets, such as Japan and South Korea, also will reach 5 percent in 2018, according to a new report from Dataxis.

The broad availability 4K TV screens from various vendors — with increasing focus on 55in to 65in displays and cheaper price points — is creating consumer demand and driving 4K TV sales as existing flat-screen and HD displays are replaced, the researcher said.

The report, “4K TV Market and Forecasts (2013-2018),” estimates there will be 2.2 million 4K TV households at the end of 2013, rising to 66.2 million by end-2016. Sales of cheaper, domestic 4K TV sets in China will also help push the Asia Pacific region to become the single largest market for 4K TV by 2016 — accounting for 42 percent of global 4K TV households.

"The recent standardization of HEVC/H.265 will improve video quality and double the data compression ratio compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, making it possible to offer native 4K TV content across all TV access platforms," said Dataxisresearch director Gavin Patterson.

"Pay TV companies are most likely to invest heavily in 4K TV so they can compete against OTA broadcasts and OTT services, with the battle for dominance likely to be reignited between satellite and cable operators," he added.

The picture isn’t quite so rosy when it comes to 4K households that actually will be watching 4K native 4K content, said the research firm. It forecasts only 58 percent of such households (some 38 million) will have access native 4K TV programming from their TV providers by the end of 2018.

"The first generation of 4K TV set owners will have to rely on media players, games consoles and compressed download systems to view 4K content, although many channels have already started running their own 4K TV trials to launch programming around the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics," said Patterson.