What's Next for Flat Panel TVs?

The consumer market for flat panel HD TVs has continuously grown throughout the last decade and a half. Due to larger screen sizes, higher resolution, and increased smart capabilities, flat panel TV adoption has overcome what is generally a saturated market. The demand for the most updated, "must-have" technology in arguably the home's most important device (not to mention those annual Black Friday deals) keeps flat panel TVs flying off the shelves.

Over the next several years, the largest growth in consumption is expected to originate in the 4K market. By 2024, over 230 million 4K TVs are forecasted to ship worldwide — an increase from just over 100 million shipments last year — solidifying its stronghold as the preferred mainstream household television.

Consumers, Manufacturers, Not Ready for 8K

Manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, LG and TCL have introduced 8K flat panel televisions, but there are a number of barriers to entry in this market:

8K television models can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000. These higher costs are currently pricing out mainstream household users, but as has been the case in prior cycles of flat panel enhancements, we can expect 8K models to eventually become more affordable.

Adoption has also stalled due to media limitations — or put another way, broadcast companies have not developed enough compatible content needed to accommodate 8K capabilities. Japanese broadcaster NHK and the Korean Broadcasting Corporation have been the pioneers to date, with streaming provider Rakuten set to begin providing content in support of 8K, but no other distribution channels have come close. In what also could be considered a chicken or egg argument, broadcast providers don't see the incentive to produce content specifically for televisions that the general public is not buying.

Distribution of content is also inhibited by limitations concerning data management and bandwidth. Versatile Video Coding is the method of video compression set to become the new standard over its predecessor, High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), and is 34% more efficient than HEVC. However, 2020 is the earliest that we will see its implementation.

4K Isn't Going Anywhere

At present, given the aforementioned challenges linked to widespread distribution of 8K models, 4K will be the dominant format of the flat panel TV market, and of the content ecosystem. 4K TV household penetration will reach slightly more than half of households in mature markets, and because penetration remains nascent in emerging markets, there is still plenty of room for market growth over the next five years, particularly as 4K televisions continue to drop in price. Moreover, given the significance and rising popularity of streaming as a way of consumption, it's worth noting that over the next 6-12 months, nearly 100% of associated adapter units will support 4K televisions.

Find Out More

Our market data report, Media Devices: UltraHD, 4K, HDR, 8K, HEVC, provides forecasted shipments and revenues of 4K and 8K televisions throughout the world's major regional markets. To get a closer glimpse into the breakdown by country, as well as a look into streaming media devices, game consoles, and Blu-ray players, download the report today.