In 2016, more than 25 million 4K TVs shipped in China. By 2020, that number is expected to almost double to 44 million, the same as the next two regions (Western Europe and North America) combined. In Western Europe, more than 8 million 4K TVs shipped in 2016, forecast to increase to 19 million in 2020. North American shipments are forecast to more than double, from 11.7 million in 2016 to 25.9 million in 2020.
“China is on a different trajectory to the rest of the world when it comes to 4K TVs,” said Paul Gray, principal analyst, IHS Markit. “It is getting hard to buy a large screen TV in China without 4K. Japanese set makers also aggressively switched to 4K product ranges, especially in their domestic market, but shipments in Japan remain constrained by consumer preferences for screen sizes too small to support 4K.”
“Aggressive competition in the LCD display industry is fueling a pixel race,” Gray said. “Panel makers have added 8K resolutions to their road maps and product plans, a process that will accelerate as new Chinese LCD fabs start production.”
However, the IHS Markit white paper highlights a few challenges for 8K. The high pixel density demands that either a very large screen or short viewing distance is necessary.
China will dominate 8K shipments as its early-adopting consumers are likely to be eager for new features. 65-inch will be the dominant 8K size, driven by affordable pricing in China. While Japan is planning 8K broadcasts from 2020, for most regions 8K video content will remain scarce for the foreseeable future.