CEA study tunes into what viewers want and finds its 4K UHD with Smart TVs

by on February 6, 2015

Stephan Jukic – February 06, 2015

A recent pair of studies conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association titled: “OTT Video Consumption” and “4K Ultra HD Update: Consumer Adoption and Awareness” have drawn a number of interesting data points and general conclusions about the state of consumer preferences for 4K ultra HD and the latest related home entertainment technologies.

For starters, the studies have shown that while TV remains viewers’’ number one means of accessing video content, the number of users who are watching video on their TVs from streaming media sources is gaining on those who watch media from traditional broadcast sources. 63% of TV users reported doing the former while 68% of TV users still use the latter, older technology (the overlap in percentages comes from the same viewers utilizing both video content sources).

Furthermore, the two studies also showed that one third of all consumers in the U.S (about 33%) may or are likely to buy a 4K UHD TV sometime within the next three years while about 44% of all consumers surveyed indicated that they’d but an internet connected “Smart” TV at some point in the same time span.  Given that most Smart TVs are in fact also 4K TVs, the percentage only reinforces the possibility of major consumer purchases of UHD TVs within the next 3 years.

According to Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the CEA, TV remains the single most important source of video content for most viewers despite changes in the viewing options landscape. Specifically, “Consumers have access to streaming video across numerous devices but when asked where the most prefer to watch content around the home, almost three in five (58%) prefer to watch on a TV. Overall our studies indicate a bright future for 4K UHD”.

The comprehensive findings of the two CEA studies were announced at the CEA Research Summit at this year’s 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

The CEA presented the results of its two broad studies on consumer preferences for 4K at this year's International CES in Las Vegas

The CEA presented the results of its two broad studies on consumer preferences for 4K at this year’s International CES in Las Vegas

Other findings collected by the CEA’s “4K Ultra HD Update” study in particular revealed that about 38% of consumers who plan on buying a 4K TV will look for something that increases screen size or improves picture quality when they finally buy their TVs.

Also, when asked about their considerations for the top features that would drive their next TV purchases, 27% ranked 4K UHD capability as the second most important feature, followed by the third most important characteristic, which was the picture quality that happens to be a key characteristic of 4K TVs in general (24%).

However, pricing on 4K TVs will be crucial in purchasing decisions over these next three years since 54% of the consumer surveyed indicated that the cost of the TVs they want to buy will be the most crucial aspect of actually deciding to buy or not.

As for the “OTT Video Consumption” study, it found that consumers are driven more by screen size than portability when watching streaming content in their homes. Because of this, more than half of consumers were found to watch streaming content on their TVs while roughly one third of viewers watched the same streaming media from different kinds of mobile connected devices like laptops (37%), smartphones (35%) and tablet devices (29%).

Most unsurprisingly of all, the millennial consumer base is leading the shift in accessing content from the comfort of home. The study found that consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to stream video content (80% of them) than consumers who are 35 years or older (only 52% in this age group). Also, about 22% of millennial consumers were found to access TV programming via an antenna as opposed to 35-and-older consumers, of which only 14% did the same. Interestingly, pay-TV programming is much less popular with millenials (61%) than it is with the 35+ crowd, of which 74% use pay-tv subscriptions.

In other words, younger consumers are gravitating away from traditional means of accessing video content and moving faster in the direction of content sources more suited to Smart TVs and web connected mobile devices. This means that 4K TVs offer a perfect mix of web connectivity and TV level immersiveness for this younger demographic and thus their sales should significantly jump up in 2015. The CEA itself predicts that sales in 2015 will leap to four million units, a 208% increase from total U.S sales in 2014.

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