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CES 2014: 4K TVs set for sales explosion in 2014

OLED can wait, says NPD Report

by Mark Hodgkinson Jan 2, 2014


With CES 2014 just about to start, interest in 4K TVs is currently something close to fever pitch as a critical moment is approaching in the market.
And 2014 is set to be the year that Ultra HD moves from the early adopting crowd in to the living rooms of more mainstream consumers, according to a report from analysts NPD Display Search. At least that will be the case in China where it seems tech-savvy customers can’t get enough of those extra pixels.

According to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, 4K TV shipments are expected to have totalled 1.9 million units in 2013, rising to nearly 13 million in 2014. China will have an 87% share of units in 2013, dropping only slightly to 78% in 2014.
13 million sales forecast for 2014
So that means that China will lead all other regions combined, by a factor of three in the year ahead but other regions will catch up, although China will remain the leading region for 4K×2K TV shipments throughout the forecast, enabled by huge competition and bargain bin price points.

Ultra HD average prices are expected to fall below $1,000 in China during 2014, while the worldwide average remains over $1,100 and close to $2,000 in North America but whichever way you look at it, prices are set to tumble in 2014 and we should see the evidence of this in Vegas next week.

Figure 1: 4K×2K LCD and OLED TV Forecast


“As the manufacturers of 4K×2K TV LCD panels and sets expect strong growth in 2014, the supply chain focus on growing demand is rising dramatically,” noted Paul Gagnon, director for global TV research at NPD DisplaySearch. “Panel makers are planning for nearly 27 million 4K×2K TV panels to be produced next year, while brands have somewhat more modest expectations for the end market. There is a significant difference in outlook between China and other regions.”

According to NPD, Total TV shipments should grow about 1% in 2014 to 229 million units, with LCD TV shipments rising to 220 million, or 96% of overall units. As we know, Plasma and CRT TV shipments are declining rapidly, and they predict they will end altogether by 2016, although it might be sooner than that for plasma, if LG and Samsung follow Panasonic’s lead.

Figure 2: TV Shipment Growth by Technology


Display Search say that OLED TV tech is not likely to yield significant growth for two to three more years, which we’d probably agree with, to an extent, which will make 4K TVs the interim focus for the manufacturers but we’ll know more by this time next week!

Source: DisplaySearch

    1. Mark Hodgkinson

      Mark Hodgkinson Reviewer & News Writer Staff Member

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    2. NickInWiltshire

      NickInWiltshire Member

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      Looks like 4K is going to become the default for high-end TVs in the larger screen sizes. Of course that will hasten the end for plasma because 4k plasmas are not going to be viable.

      But the future for OLED is confusing. OLED is a high-end technology at the moment but making the leap to 4k will be tricky if they are still having yield problems at 2k. On the other hand if OLED sets stay at 2k then they will confuse the market. (And I know about the arguments of "picture quality with OLED" versus "4k with almost nothing produced at that resolution". But from a marketing POV you cannot have two different stories for the high end!)

      I have to tip my hat to LG here. With 3D they came up with passive 3D which greatly simplified the process for a small loss in quality. And now with OLED they have done something similar. Instead of trying to get RGB OLED to work, they simplified things with just "white" OLEDs and added colour filters. It is not the elegant "clever" solution. but it does seem to be reliable and of course has fewer steps so it is easier to make.
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    3. golden phoenix

      golden phoenix Active Member

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      ill just watch from the sidelines as always with "the next big thing" and let them scrap it out...and in 4/5 yrs might make the plunge, just in time for 8K !
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    4. 1080 jawbreaker

      1080 jawbreaker Member

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      most of the people were i work already have LED TV's though. LOL. Trying to explain it to them that its actually an LCD tv they have, and they just glaze over. THey haven't even changed any of the default picture settings from new either so trying to sell them oled is going to be a hard sell.
    5. mike7

      mike7 Active Member

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      Just been to look at some 4k sets at a local dealer. Only one (Sony) was actually showing 4k material the rest were on BluRay or Freeview HD upscaled either by the player and/or the Tv. Horrible grainy appearance where the pixels are being quadrupled. Didn't seem much, if any, improvement over standard HD screens of similar size. They all seemed to suffer once you were not sitting directly in front of the screen. Pretty narrow field of view. Doesn't seem much of a viable option given that 4k sources are going to be fairly limited for quite a while and that they seem to suffer from some at least of the worst factors affecting LCD/LEDs.

      Hope the manufacturers are going to cater for those of us that do not want (at any price!) monster size screens in our living rooms.
      Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
    6. NickInWiltshire

      NickInWiltshire Member

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      4K is going to be like 3D though, in the sense that if you buy an expensive-enough TV it will be 4K, just like it will be 3D now. So whether it is needed or wanted, you will get it "thrown in" as part of the package.
    7. golden phoenix

      golden phoenix Active Member

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      thats fine Nick as long as you dont have to pay through the nose for something you dont want or need
      Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    8. davidcrofter

      davidcrofter Member

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      Sadly you won't have a choice - folks are already paying through the nose for features they don't want, whether it be Smart TV with a fancy remote bundled in or 3D with bundled glasses.
    9. MI55ION

      MI55ION Active Member

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      What's the point of 4k tvs if we don't have 4k content?
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    10. Smith2004

      Smith2004 Member

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      The same thing happened with Full HD sets, they were launched before Blu-ray etc. was available.
    11. MI55ION

      MI55ION Active Member

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      So what happened to 3D?

      I'm gonna sit back and watch from the side lines as I think these manufacturers are taking the pee. In 5 years or so when 10k comes along I might upgrade to some used 4k sets.
    12. RXP

      RXP Member

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      Has anyone seen the OLED displays with their own eyes? They look spectacular. I'd prioritise contrast numbers over resolution especially given the fact that all content ever made can realise increased contrast but only a tiny proportion can exploit 4k.
    13. SHATNERSTACTIC

      SHATNERSTACTIC Active Member

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      Feel the more interesting and disruptive technology will be seen on the stands of Chinese manufacturers at CES.

      The glacial pace of television technology leaves the door wide open for these companies to out innovate and out price the established powerhouses of the industry. Just as the Koreans have done in the past decade or so.
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    14. golden phoenix

      golden phoenix Active Member

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      no i havent seen OLED up close and personal, but i have seen 4K LED..and to be honest i wasnt that impressed, however i reserve judgement until i see calibrated sets, and that will only likely happen if i attend events like the tps ones ive attended the last few years. or we have a shop thats knows what they're doing and how to display a tv (which is few and far between) and John lewis or richer sounds dont have calibrated sets in store as AFAIK, so the floor models showing limited content, probably isnt the best to judge the sets on.

      on the plus side of all these, healthy competition should push the prices down as we've seen recently. the real test for me will be 4k OLED. can they produce a set at a reasonable price for mainstream consumers? can they overcome the issues with the technology? will it be pushed out by 4k LED? only time will tell.
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      Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    15. jrob

      jrob Member

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      Certainly a good point about 4k content delivery, pretty sure I read something about Sony offering external hard drives with preloaded 4K movies. Guessing long term the newly approved HEVC - h.265 codec will be incorporated into the Blu-ray standard.
    16. davidcrofter

      davidcrofter Member

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      The Chinese will be relying on panels from either LG or Samsung so I think they are still playing catch-up. No point buying an upgraded 4K or OLED TV if the engine they are using to run it is not up to scratch either.

      So until they are producing their own panels they will simply remain the budget brigade imho.
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    17. silent ninja

      silent ninja Active Member

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      4k sales to explode? Implode more like!

      There is absolutely NO WAY the mainstream will take up 4K in 2014. Look how long it took HD to catch on and that was frankly a phenomenal upgrade on standard television sets. 4K is gonna be a slow burner. The content isn't there, the demand isn't there. Basically, nobody cares and there is no compelling reason for the mainstream to switch.

      4K mobile phone screens, as pointless as they are, are more likely.
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    18. TommyES

      TommyES New Member

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      I have a Sony KDL-55hx823 and have been delighted with it, I have, however, been curious about 4k TV's and have seen the Sony 4k 55x9005 in a local curry's/pc world. Personally, I thought the styling of the tv was a bit brutal, the edge based speaker systems are exposed and look unsophisticated to my eye, I like the simplicity of my hx - so my thinking was, this is an early adopter/ cinema room/ bloke TV - not a bad thing, but not designed for mass market/ scaling of sales..... This will required a more subtle realisation, so.... Mass market? Not yet! Oh! The picture was great though!
    19. mike7

      mike7 Active Member

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      I think that all the 4k demos I have seen in stores have been almost static wide shots or slides. Any movement has simply been slow pans. Is there a reluctance to show us some real moving images, or will that reveal something they would rather we didn't see? Upscaled FreeviewHD is rather grainy in appearance even from a few feet away. 'The Gadget Show' (yes - I know!) road tested some UHD upscaling Blu-ray players recently from the major manufacturers. They couldn't give any of them a single rating, which must be a first for them.

      Until there is a first class delivery system, on disk or OTA, there is really not a lot of point to investing in 4k at the moment. Cinemas use pre-recorded hard drives, but this is hardly practical or economic for the home user.
    20. charles

      charles Member

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      Most stores that have 4K Televisions on show will have a demo running of 4K material.All the sets that I have seen are much clearer with more detail than HD TV or Blu-Ray but this is to be expected .In the real world ask your dealer to show a HD TV broadcast or Blu-Ray on say a 65" 4K TV and the same material on the makers equivalent 65" top of the range non 4K TV.To my eyes the non 4K TV seems slightly sharper with HD TV .With Blu-Ray I could not detect any difference.Normal definition TV was certainly grainy on the 4K TV.Bearing in mind the huge amount of upscaling involved that is not surprising.In the last month there has been a big fall 4K TV prices,the 65" Sony for example can now be purchased for under£4000 . Poor sales perhaps? or will the 2014 models be closer in price to the non 4K sets?
    21. gamemaker

      gamemaker Member

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      The global TV politics suggest this......Oled is under threat and in the shadows of the 4k jugganant. In fact unless there is more drastic price cuts for oled TV and reach parity with Led 4k or uhd sets.....Oled is doomed.1080p is old hat in the company of 441 ppi cellular phone screens and 2556 x 1660 high res tablet screens.
      OLED TV is not a money maker!!! Not with 4K around.....Oled is a niche market as plasma TV and you know what happen to them....
      China is the biggest 4K driver and the banner they are flying is 4K. Sony and Panasonic have capitulated in the Oled race...If oled can wait......then it will die a premature death....

      Great development and milestone ahead for 4k Led.
      Yipee...hurray.

      UK Market is not that important in the TV standards war compare with SE Asia and America.....The war of dominance will be fought over there and won worldwide accordingly.Projected figures in increase 4k sells are based not in the UK.Europe is still a problem for TV makers as acknowledged by Panasonic and others
      Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
    22. fluxo

      fluxo Active Member

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      4k exacerbates the viewing angle problem with LED/LCD sets somewhat.
    23. HugoFJH

      HugoFJH Member

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      It depends on how quickly 4k sales rise (and by this I mean top tier brands not the £1k chinese imports)

      OLED wont be maximised for 1 to 2 years yet due to the costs involved in manufacture, if 4K can get the costs tumbling (like they have already started to do) within this time frame it will be an interesting battle between the two technologies with OLED tv's (which may well all be 4k by then anyway), being the premium technology and price (like Plasma has been) and the LED/LCD 4k sets being aimed more for the masses.

      Remember 4k is still really only for larger sets over 55", so there will still be a standard HDTV market for screen sizes below this.
    24. ArmitageShanks

      ArmitageShanks Member

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      I'm now really hoping my plasma panel survives another 5 or so years. I don't want LCD. Ever. Even with 16K resolution. OLED (or whatever supercedes it) needs to take off, and soon IMO.
    25. davidcrofter

      davidcrofter Member

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      That's the problem 4K LED is a flawed product right from the get go and that is the established technology whereas 1080p OLED seems to give the better results with fewer problems ... what a sad state of affairs.

      Of course we know they will artificially keep OLED prices high simply because they can bang these 4K screens out for the next couple of years and dress them up as being the best thing since sliced bread ... then introduce OLED @4k.
    26. HMHB

      HMHB Well-Known Member

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      I can't see 4K exploding. The manufacturers are trying to force the next big thing on us but what's the point when most people are watching awful quality SD material via Sky? Even the so-called HD channels aren't as good as they were at first launch (BBC etc).

      Another thing is that there are a lot of people like me where 42" is the absolute maximum size screen I can accommodate. Are there any 4K screen this small??

      I imagine that the bad SD channels will look even worse on a 4K screen than they currently do on a 1080 screen?

      And as for curved screens, don't get me started on that!!!
    27. fluxo

      fluxo Active Member

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      I can't say I've seen any under 55", which is not to say they don't exist.

      This size stuff is madness. It's as if the car manufacturers decided their customers wanted giant articulated lorries on their drives. I guess it will stop when the TVs are too big to get into people's living rooms. Or perhaps foldable 20 ft screens?

      Oh, go on, please :)
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    28. Smith2004

      Smith2004 Member

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      49 and 50inch sets (from LG, Sony and Samsung) appear to be the smallest 4K sets planned for this year from the big manufacturers, with LG said to be launching their 49inch model in the UK in time for the World Cup (i.e. before mid June). At least one of the Chinese makers has a 39inch set on the market already, although AFAIK it isn't sold in the UK.
    29. fluxo

      fluxo Active Member

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      Looking at CNET's overview of Sony and Samsung's offerings, it seems that 40" sets this year are going to be confined to the entry level ranges and 50" sets to the mid level ranges (whether 4k or not). I don't know if that is only for the US.

      Personally, I think they're heading for disaster with this strategy and they're hugely overestimating the appetite of consumers for very large and very expensive TVs. But perhaps I am wrong. It will be interesting to see how things develop.
      Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    30. clydebest

      clydebest Active Member

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      IS this based on what consumers will do ... or as I suspect what the manufacturers want us to do.... This is going to be a very hard sell ..... they will have to have a huge amount of 4k content on top of what purely streaming services can offer.... IMO people will not except having to go backward in regard of content.... the biggest money maker by far in this country is the EPL are there plans for 4k content of that at no additional costs... I think not , so that counts me out...
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