Shipments of 4K TVs jumped by 699% year-on-year in 2014 to 11.6 million units, according to estimates by research firm Futuresource Consulting.
The new research forecasts that by 2018, 100 million 4K sets will ship per annum, with 4K TV ownership to exceed 20% in leading markets.
“Falling premiums and 4K in smaller screen sizes will drive 4K adoption, while consumers will want to future-proof for 4K content when it becomes available,” according to Futuresource.
Last year, China accounted for 70% of 4K TV set demand, down from 84% in 2013, according to the estimates.
Futuresource said that the a sustained flow of 4K content will be “critical to the long term success of 4K.” It also said that OTT video services are driving the early rollout of 4K, with “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 (OTT) video services, and we are beginning to see signs that broadcasters support will be forthcoming. However, with 8K on the horizon, there is speculation as to whether the window for 4K will be short-lived,” said Sarah Carroll, Futuresource Consulting director of sales and marketing.
The figures follow reports from last week that the Rio 2016 Olympic games will not be broadcast in 4K.
Olympic Broadcast Services CEO, Yiannis Exarchos, told the Hollywood Reporter “In my opinion 8K is much more of a game-changer than 4K,” adding that the International Olympic Committee has “no plans for 4K TV broadcasting” and that “there is no demand from our rights holders for 4K.”
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