According to ABI Research, the rapid and increasing number of worldwide UltraHD/4K flat panel TV shipments over the past few years is contributing to the overall growth of the global flat panel TV market. 4K TV units accounted for more than one-third of the total flat panel TV units sold in 2017. ABI forecasts that 4K flat panel TV shipments will surpass 102 million in 2018, representing 44% of total global flat panel TV shipments.
In addition to increasing availability of 4K content on streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, pay TV service providers are also investing to offer 4K content. Russian pay TV provider Tricolor TV recently launched 4K movie channels; U.S. pay TV operators Verizon and Frontier Communications are also testing 4K video services at present.
"Better visual experience and availability of 4K content together with declining price points are driving 4K TV set shipments," said Khin Sandi Lynn, an industry analyst at ABI.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific leads the 4K unit shipments representing 37% of global unit shipments in 2018. The Asian-Pacific market is mainly driven by the Chinese market which offers several low-cost 4K models. North America and Western Europe are the regions with the highest 4K TV penetration at present. Combined shipments to the two regions are expected to account for almost half of worldwide 4K flat panel TV unit shipment in 2018. ABI Research expects that consumer demand for 4K flat panel TV sets will drive the market to grow at CAGR 17.3% to reach 194 million unit shipments in 2022.
"As expected, 4K is quickly becoming the standard for TV sales," Lynn said. Just like HD before it, hardware technology reached the market far before any content did, placing an impetus on content creators and providers to catch up, while also allowing for a time of transition. While some of the satellite and cable providers are lagging behind major streaming services for 4K support and content, that too is shifting. As 4K becomes the norm, questions surround HDR and its many forms will become the focus."