4K UHD TV Makers Must Avoid Mistakes Made With 3D
If TV manufacturers want to successfully usher 4K Ultra HD TVs into the mainstream, they must avoid the same mistakes they made when introducing 3D TVs.
"The industry runs the same risk with 4K if it offers little more than the numbers marketing it used with 3D," said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch's director of TV electronics and Europe TV research, during his presentation on "The Global TV Business: New Challenges and Opportunities" at the recent IFA Global Press Conference in Sardinia. "Consumers will turn away from it."
Some mistakes made during the launch of 3D TV include the substandard quality of upconverted content; the lack of compelling content; poor product demonstration and presentation at retail; and a general overpromise and under-delivery of the 3D TV consumer experience.
As 4K UHD TV vendors got to market, they must make sure the sets deliver the additional bits per pixel and higher frame rates needed to produce an exceptional experience, Gray said.
Competition among vendors will also increase thanks to a handful of Chinese manufacturers that are producing 4K UHD sets with the same features and equal quality of their domestic competitors, Gray said.
DisplaySearch expects less than one million 4K UHD TVs to ship this year. Things should pick up next year, with expected shipments of about 1.3 million 50- to 54-inch sets, about 1.7 million 55- to 59-inch sets, and about one million 60-plus-inch sets. The overall number of 4K UHD sets will grow by about three million units overall, to a little under seven million units, in 2014. The number of shipments should hit about 10 million in 2016, including about 100,000 60-plus-inch OLED sets.
"We believe OLED will get there eventually," Gray said. "If you're playing at the top-end of the market, it's worth paying attention to. But if you're playing in the mainstream, it will take a very, very long time."
OLED technology generated a lot of hype when it was introduced several years ago, but the industry misjudged its ability to solve a variety of problems with producing the glass. Today, only about one in ten OLED panels produced are usable, Gray said.
Another hindrance is that Samsung, the biggest product of OLED displays, is successfully producing smaller screen sizes for smartphones and tablets and does not yet see the benefit of making larger sizes for TVs, Gray said.
In terms of 4K UHD content, Gray said broadcast standardization has started but full commercialization of content is about two years away. Until then, most 4K content will be made up of graphics and delivered over the Internet.
"Broadcasters are working hard on it," Gray said, "but an awful lot of work still needs to be done."