It’s not just 4K TVs that are breaching sales records, 8K TVs will start selling too: 1 million units by 2019

by on July 14, 2015

Stephan Jukic – July 14, 2015

While 4K TV shipments kick ever upward to what are current record levels (and still growing very quickly) many consumers aren’t yet thinking too much about 8K resolution and the televisions that are going to have it. In fact, even for most of the content and broadcasting industry in particular, 8K is a whole other ballpark they don’t want to think about too much yet given the transmission difficulties 4K alone still causes.

However, one broadcaster is a definite exception to this, the Japanese state TV company NHK. They’re actively planning for the future of 8K and already doing test runs of 8K live broadcast productions, as we’ve covered before.

At the same time, TV makers themselves are also certainly thinking about the technology, as is evident by the innovative new prototype 8K TVs we’re seeing emerge for public display (but no actual sale) during consumer electronic shows.

Given these trends, it’s not hard to imagine as plausible the forecast by industry research firm IHS, which claims that shipments of consumer market 8K TVs with resolutions of at least 7,680 x 4,320 pixels will jump from 2,700 that will be shipped this year to just under 1 million sold in 2019.

Just one example of a giagantic prototype 8K TV, in this case from LG. Note the 98" screen size.

Just one example of a giagantic prototype 8K TV, in this case from LG. Note the 98″ screen size.

The IHS 8k TV forecast is based on predictions of sales of 65 inch TVs which are currently those most being produced in this ultimate ultra HD resolution. These 65 inch models are expected to account for 80% of those 911 thousand 8K TVs shipped in 2019.

According to Paul Grey, the main analyst for IHS, “the biggest inhibitor to the growth of 8K TV will be consumer screen size preferences”. According to Grey, 8K requires a truly large screen size and while average TV screen sizes have been growing at a rate of an inch per year during the past decade, the sizes needed to make 8K really appreciable (more than 70 inches) are still a long ways from becoming common. 8K resolution is hardly discernable from 4K resolution in smaller 60 inch or less TVs.

Furthermore, new factories for LCD TV technology in general are expected to go online in China within the next three years and these will also include the capacity for 8K 65 inch display manufacture, thus dramatically ramping up production of these super-ultra HD televisions.

IHS also claims that China will be a driving force for 8K TV sales growth and production as well.

Oddly, the researchers don’t make mention of the other potential growth inhibitors to 8K TV sales. Most important among these being the sheer bandwidth needed to transmit a resolution 16 times the size of Full HD through any medium, even with compression.

Nonetheless, this and other limitations surrounding 8K haven’t stopped companies like Samsung from trying to develop not just 8K displays but even more insane 11K resolution…….in smartphone screens, by 2019. If IHS thinks that 8K is problematic in smaller TV screens, what does that say about the idea of an even bigger resolution in a tiny 4 to 6 inch smartphone display.

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