IHS: Consumer Interest in 4K UHD Video Gaining Traction

With sales of 4K Ultra HD televisions becoming the norm — 50% of all shipments in China, North America and Western Europe — consumer interest in UHD entertainment is slowly increasing.

New data from IHS Markit found that 36% of consumers in five countries surveyed said 4K UHD content was important to them when choosing video services. That interest rose to 50% in homes with pay-TV and over-the-top video.

The data – based on an April sample of 12,005 online survey respondents in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Brazil – found that respondents between the ages of 17 and 44 exhibited the most interest in UHD content; men age 25 to 34 were more interested than women in the same demo, while respondents aged 45 and over reported the least interest.

Among respondents who indicated UHD was important to them, 75% subscribed to Netflix compared to 16% among non-UHD enthusiasts.

The preference for high-resolution video is in line with the growing, albeit small, number of UHD titles available and the rising penetration of 4K-capable TV sets. IHS Markit research reveals that more than 40% of TVs shipped globally in the second quarter of 2018 were 4K capable.

Respondents interested in UHD content were more likely than others to own connectable video devices such as video games consoles and streaming media devices such as Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

Owners of Apple TV, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X and other 4K-capable devices had the highest connection rates to the primary TV screen, indicating a desire to consume the latest technologies and watch high-definition video content.

This finding is particularly important during a time when most connected devices allow access to similar video content apps. Lower-cost devices, like Amazon Fire TV and Roku, saw little or no change in household penetration compared to those who indicated UHD is important to all other video subscribers.

When subscribing to both pay TV and OTT video services, respondents who thought UHD was important were also more likely to be driven by device availability, including the ability to watch video content on more than one device, or to watch on a specific device. The likelihood of renting or purchasing digital video content also increases across all content types, including new movie releases and TV box sets.

While OTT content availability has largely been driven by OTT video services, a small but growing number of pay TV operators now make UHD content available to their subscribers, primarily via “on demand” services. These findings underscore the importance of UHD among a well-connected and content-hungry consumer base, because they also tend to be big spenders on the latest technologies and content services, with a demonstrated preference for premium products.

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