CES 2015 is where we’re seeing see 4K go Mainstream across the consumer technology spectrum

by on January 9, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 9, 2015

4K ultra HD TVs and UHD technology in general have gone through a somewhat amusing transformation between 2013 and now.

At first, back in 2013 and the early phases of 2014, a lot of technology experts were saying that they felt doubtful about the future of 4K and either thought it was just a temporary fad like3DTV had been or, if not that, then something that wouldn’t take off any time soon at all.

Then, in the latter half of last year, an interesting thing happened; 4K TVs and 4K cameras began to carve a major foothold all over the place and everyone started to pay a lot more attention. Next thing we knew, total sales of UHD TVs for 2014 had surpassed all predictions and a lot of the naysayers have gone very quiet.

Even more importantly, the content side of the equation, one of the biggest sources of consternation even among fans of 4K resolution, has improved suddenly and thoroughly: The seeming desert that was the 4K media landscape in mid-2014 is flowering and new content sources are emerging across the entire broadcast and web-based media spectrum.

In other words, the technology is living up to all of its hype.

According to experts like Paul O’Donovan, a consumer electronics analyst at Gartner Research, 4K is definitely becoming the emerging standard for TVs: “I think it will take some years for the annual number of 4K TVs manufactured to outnumber the total of Full HD models, but I would expect that to happen within the next 7 to 10 years”.

And even this estimate may be overly conservative: Other companies like SandlerResearch are estimating a growth rate of 106.84%  for sales of 4K TVs through to 2018 while still others have predicted sales of 100 milion units by 2018, vs. 2014’s sales of roughly 11 million (which is still twice as much as was predicted in the beginning of 2014).

Furthermore, sources at Samsung have explained that the North American TV industry shipped more than 800,000 UHD TVs in 2014 and that they expect this number to increase by five-fold in 2015.

In terms of the technology itself, everything we’re seeing indicates nothing but greater popularity. At this year’s CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, LG has unveiled more than a dozen new 4K TV models for prices that are lower than ever before, even for the latest, most advanced features such as quantum dot displays.

Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp have all done the same thing, each releasing at least half a dozen new models with better specs than ever at lower prices than those of 2014.

LG is just one of many that's releasing a plethora of new 4K TVs at CES 2015 with new technologies such as quantum dots built into them

LG is just one of many that’s releasing a plethora of new 4K TVs at CES 2015 with new technologies such as quantum dots built into them

Furthermore, we have new TVs such as those from Vizio, which broke all price records for high-end 4K TVs in October by releasing a series of 5 models that all sold for 50 to 100% less than anything any competitor in the same quality category had available.

Finally, the peripheral but equally important technologies of shooting 4K video and providing 4K content are seeing the same kind of expansion as TVs. This is also being revealed at CES 2015: Several content providers, including Dish, DirecTV, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, have all promised a wide array of new 4K content for 2015 while at the same time, several new cameras and camcorders that shoot 4K video have emerged at prices lower than any seen before. Two notable examples being the latest consumer camcorders from Panasonic and from Sony.

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