Research: Number of Global UHD TV Homes Passes 200 Million

The number of homes worldwide using an Ultra HD TV has now passed the 200 million mark, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices service.

The report, 4K and 8K Ultra HDTV Global Market Forecast, predicts that 222 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by the end of 2018, an increase of nearly 50% over the past twelve months. The report also forecasts that more than 600 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by 2023. The vast majority of these homes will have a 4K display — only 3% of Ultra HD TVs in use will be 8K-ready by this time.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • North America will continue to lead in adoption of Ultra HD TVs, with 71% of homes owning one by 2023;
  • The largest market in terms of annual sales of Ultra HD TVs is the Asia Pacific region, where they will reach nearly 46 million units this year;
  • Sales of 8K Ultra HDTVs will reach more than 400,000 units in 2019 and more than 11 million by 2023, which will represent a 6% share of the total Ultra HD TV market; and
  • By 2023 3.9% of Ultra HDTV homes in North America will own 8K displays, compared to 4.1% in Asia Pacific and 1.7% in Western Europe.

“The success of Ultra HDTV has been driven by technology adoption rather than content and services,” said David Mercer, principal analyst and the report’s author, in a statement. “4K video and TV services are now becoming more widely available, meeting the expectations of 4K Ultra HDTV owners for the best quality TV experience. But our expectations for 8K services should be cautious: while Japan has now launched 8K TV in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the rest of the world will be slower to follow suit, given that the number of homes with 8K-ready TVs will remain low until the mid 2020s.”

“Owners of 8K TVs will primarily be watching 4K and HD content, while the TV’s image processors will do a good job of scaling most content to give impressive images,” said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Amidst the excitement surrounding 8K TVs, it is important to remember that image resolution, whether native or otherwise, is only one element in perceived video quality, and TV vendors and content players alike should not lose focus on other important drivers of consumer satisfaction, such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and High Frame Rate (HFR).”

Best Buy Extends Holiday Deals With ’20 Days of Doorbusters’

On the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, Best Buy has unveiled yet another promotion for the holidays starting Dec. 1: “20 Days of Doorbusters.”

Consumers can sign up to receive text alerts for each day’s “doorbuster,” which they can select on the Best Buy website.

Best Buy will offer doorbuster deals for big screen smart 4K TVs on Dec. 4, Dec. 12 and Dec. 18, and for a game console on Dec. 8. The website doesn’t specify brands.

Futuresource: Global 4K UHD TV Shipments to Surpass 100 Million Units in 2018

Pushed by average retail prices reaching parity with HDTV sets, annual global shipments of 4K UHD TVs are expected to surpass 100 million units in 2018, according to the latest market tracking report from Futuresource Consulting.

“The market will continue to grow with double-digit CAGR throughout our forecasting period to 2022,” said Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource, in a statement. “What’s more, high dynamic range — HDR — is beginning to make its presence felt and will be included in over half of all 4K UHD TVs sold worldwide in 2018, though consumer understanding remains limited.”

The Asia Pacific region leads the way in volume, helped along by China, the largest single market for 4K UHD. North America has also seen strong uptake of 4K UHD, with rapidly declining prices and a general preference for larger screens, according to Futuresource. In Europe, the firm projects shipments will grow by 30% this year.

Global shipments of UHD Blu-ray players are expected to almost double the installed base of standalone players this year, according to Futuresource, while UHD compatible media streamer shipments will rise more than 85% year-over-year, accounting for nearly half of all media streamer shipments. Game consoles are significantly increasing the installed base of UHD Blu-ray capable homes, bolstered by consumers updating consoles and taking advantage of upgrades available for both the PlayStation and Xbox, according to Futuresource.

“When it comes to the content, SVoD remains the primary gateway for consumers to get their UHD fix,” said Veale in a statement. “Netflix is the key service driving UHD SVoD spend. Depending on the country, around 20 percent to 30 percent of subscribers have opted for the UHD premium tier.”

Physical media is growing as well, according to the firm.

“UHD Blu-ray content continues to progress ahead of the expectations of many, with global consumer spend on track to reach $360 million this year,” said Veale in a statement. “UHD Blu-ray has held onto its price premium and, as a result, consumer spend continues to outperform digital sellthrough of UHD, despite the volumes being almost identical.”

Broadcast of the format is also making strides.

“Broadcast UHD has also received a welcome boost in 2018, with February’s Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup accelerating many broadcasters’ plans to introduce 4K UHD coverage, making high quality streams available,” Veale said in a statement. “However, for wider uptake, a reduction in the cost to deliver UHD and HD broadcasts simultaneously is needed. IP delivery is expected to be key to this, at least in the short to medium term.”

Best Buy Ups Q3 Same-Store Entertainment Sales

Best Buy is looking good heading into Black Friday (Nov. 22).

The CE retailer Nov. 20 reported 12.4% increase in third-quarter (ended Nov. 3) same-store entertainment sales, compared to 4.1% increase in the previous-year period.

The entertainment segment, which includes DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs and computer software, generated 6% ($525.3 million) of Best Buy’s domestic revenue in the quarter compared to 6% ($509.5 million) last year.

Internationally, entertainment same-store sales increased 10.8%, generating $58.4 million (7%) of revenue. That compared to 7.8% increase and revenue of $49.7 million (6%) last year.

Best Buy’s legacy CE unit saw 3.7% increase in domestic same-store sales, up from 3.5% increase last year. Revenue remained relatively flat at $2.71 billion compared to $2.63 billion last year.

The nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer remains upbeat heading into Black Friday and the winter retail season.

“The holiday season is here, and our team has put together a best-in-class assortment, prepared an amazing set of deals, and ensured we have great inventory availability across all the product categories we carry,” CEO Hubert Joly said in a statement. “In addition, we have continued to enhance our digital shopping experience and further improved our shipping speed, allowing us to delight customers with fast and free delivery.”

 

BluFocus First North American Authorized Test Center for HDR10+

BluFocus, a division of Blu., has been approved as the first North American Authorized Test Center (ATC) for HDR10+ technology.

HDR10+ advances the current industry standard of High Dynamic Range (HDR), HDR10, by including dynamic metadata for every scene and frame, enabling more accurate true-to-life pictures.

BluFocus ensures the compliance of products submitted for HDR10+ licensing with testing resources that include certification for display performance, metadata processing and display management.

“It’s always gratifying when BluFocus is selected by the media industry to help a new technology standard like HDR10+ reach its full potential,” said Paulette Pantoja, CEO of Blu. “Being approved as an HDR10+ Authorized Test Center is a logical extension to our ATC’s expertise in display technology certifications.”

HDR10+ Technologies, a joint venture among 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, established the licensing and logo certification program for HDR10+ technology.

“A technological step forward for next generation displays, HDR10+ improves the viewing experience for audiences on a wide range of TVs and displays,” said Danny Kaye, EVP of 20th Century Fox and managing director of the Fox Innovation Lab. “In order to uphold this, ATCs, like BluFocus, are critical to ensuring that HDR10+ compliant products meet the highest quality standards.”

For more about the HDR10+ logo, license and certification program visit https://www.hdr10plus.org/.

For more information about Blu., visit http://www.BLU.team.

‘Dark Knight’ Tops FandangoNow 4K Survey

The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan,topped a FandangoNow survey of more than 1,500 film fans with 4K Ultra HD TVs asking which streaming movies they say require 4K viewings.

Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok and Dunkirk, also directed by Nolan, were the next in line that fans said were a must see in the highest resolution possible, according to the FandangoNow survey.

According to the FandangoNow survey, more than 60% of respondents indicated they are more likely to watch a movie at home if it is available in 4K Ultra HD.

“Our 4K survey reveals that fans are still excited about experiencing The Dark Knight at home in the highest resolution and with the best sound available 10 years after the film’s release,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Watching a movie in 4K just enhances the entire viewing experience exponentially, and it’s no wonder that audiences are navigating toward the films of Christopher Nolan, because he is one of the top filmmakers to fully embrace the technology in every way.”

Filmmaker Nolan, who directed five of the movies (in addition to The Dark Knight and Dunkirk, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar and Inception) among the top 44 FandangoNow 4K titles, will be honored at the 4K Ultra HD Summit with the DEG Vanguard Award Nov. 6.

The full list of Top 44 4K films in the FandangoNow survey is:

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. Thor: Ragnarok
  4. Dunkirk
  5. The Avengers
  6. The Dark Knight Rises
  7. Black Panther
  8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  10. Interstellar
  11. Mad Max: Fury Road
  12. Inception
  13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  14. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  15. Saving Private Ryan
  16. Wonder Woman
  17. Jurassic World
  18. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  19. Deadpool 2
  20. Incredibles 2
  21. The Matrix
  22. Spider-Man: Homecomng
  23. The Martian
  24. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  25. Ready Player One
  26. Blade Runner 2049
  27. Life of Pi
  28. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  29. Deadpool
  30. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  31. Logan
  32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  33. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  34. John Wick
  35. It
  36. Kingsman: The Secret Service
  37. Baby Driver
  38. The Incredibles
  39. The Fate of the Furious
  40. A Quiet Place
  41. The Fifth Element
  42. Arrival
  43. Atomic Blonde
  44. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Vizio Adds Features to Smart TV Experience

Vizio announced the rollout of new features to its smart TV experience, SmartCast Home, adding such entertainment apps as CBS All Access and allowing users to personalize their SmartCast Home experience via the app sorting feature.

The latest iteration of SmartCast Home is rolling out via free cloud-based updates to Vizio SmartCast 4K Ultra HD TVs and displays, as well as select HD and Full HD models.

“Vizio continues to fulfill consumer demands by way of free, rolling cloud-based updates that enable new, intuitive smart TV features via Vizio SmartCast,” said Vizio chief technology officer Bill Baxter in a statement. “With versatility, simplicity and value in mind, Vizio SmartCast is an ever-evolving entertainment solution. Everyday users, cord-cutters and smart home enthusiasts alike are able to continuously receive new features, the latest apps and other beneficial enhancements that help ensure they are getting the most out of their viewing experience.”

With the update, Vizio SmartCast Home users can sort and position their favorite and most frequented apps on the home screen. To change the order of apps within the app row at the bottom of the SmartCast Home screen, users scroll to the end of the app row and select the “Sort App Row” icon. From there, they will be prompted with on-screen cues that guide them through the process of highlighting and selecting various apps to customize their position.

New to Vizio SmartCast Home is the CBS All Access app, offering such programs as “NCIS,” “The Young and the Restless” and “Madam Secretary”; exclusive original series such as “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Good Fight”; and streaming of local live broadcasts. YouTube TV — which allows SmartCast users to watch and record live TV from more than 60 networks — Baeble and Toon Goggles, among other apps, have also been added to the SmartCast lineup.

With the latest updates, the Vizio WatchFree free streaming service is now also included in the App Row.

SmartCast also now offers dedicated TV and Movie Detail pages highlighting the selected title’s trailer and synopsis, along with cast and director credits, running time, parental ratings, critic insights and more. The TV and Movie Detail pages will also soon allow users to browse seasons and episodes across multiple apps such as FandangoNow and Hulu, and then view on their app of choice.

IHS Markit: TV Shipments to Grow 3.6% in 2018 With UHD Models to Account for More Than Half of Shipments in 2019

After declining unit-shipment volumes in 2017, global TV shipments are forecast to grow 3.6% year over year in 2018, with additional 1.4% growth in 2019, according to a new report from research firm IHS Markit.

Of the 226 million TVs expected to ship in 2019, more than half will be ultra-high-definition (UHD) models, the majority of which are 4K. However, 8K TVs from major global TV brands will launch toward the end of 2018, kicking off the next wave of resolution transition, according to the report.

“Growth in the TV market typically is the result of more attractive retail prices for large-screen sizes and the continued commoditization of 4K resolution, driving TV replacements and upgrades,” said IHS research and analysis executive director Paul Gagnon in a statement. “However, this growth through price compression has a negative effect on profits, so TV brands are actively looking for more growth from advanced TV models to improve earnings.”
Technologies such as 8K, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and quantum dot (QD) carry substantial premiums, and 4K TVs still carry premiums of more than 35 percent at screen sizes where 1080p resolution is still an option, such as 40-inch to 49-inch TVs, according to IHS.

IHS Markit forecasts that the 8K TV market will grow from less than 20,000 units in 2018 to more than 430,000 in 2019 — eventually approaching 2 million units by 2020. All of this growth will be centered on 60-inch and larger screen sizes, with 65-inch TVs accounting for more than half of the volume.

OLED TV is expected to grow more than 40% in 2019, rising to 3.6 million units. This growth is in line with previous forecasts, because demand is essentially matching industry production capacity, according to IHS. The size mix still favors 55-inch TVs, based on current prices, but it will transition to mostly 65-inch TVs by 2020, when new production capacity is optimized for larger screen sizes, and when substantial growth is expected in the OLED TV category.

Quantum dot LCD TV shipments are now forecast to exceed 4 million units in 2019, based on more aggressive pricing and the introduction of transitional quantum-dot-equipped LCD TV models, according to IHS.
“The high-end prices of non-QD-equipped LCD TV models and the prices of the low end QD-equipped LCD TV models have moved closer together,” Gagnon said in a statement. “This extension of the quantum dot LCD TV lineup into more moderate price ranges effectively reduces the quantum dot premium to less than 100 percent at mid-range sizes, opening up the category to a larger addressable market of consumers.”

Futuresource: 4K to Move Mainstream in 2018

2018 will be the year 4K UHD moves mainstream, accounting for nearly 50% of all TVs shipped worldwide by year end, according to a market tracking report from Futuresource Consulting.

The report, which includes TVs, broadcast coverage, STB installed base, Blu-ray players, Blu-ray software, digital transactional video and digital subscriptions, focuses on the latest key developments and future consumer trends in 4K UHD.

“As with HD before it, 4K UHD is being driven by TV display purchases,” said Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource. “It’s a thriving segment, and by 2022 the installed base of 4K UHD TVs will be three times larger than today, achieving 37% global household penetration.”

Although there is a content gap, that gap is being filled, according to Futuresource. The amount of 4K UHD content available to consumers has grown significantly over the first half of 2018, with broadcast content helped along by a range of international sporting events with worldwide appeal, according to the consulting firm.

“February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea was broadcast in 4K UHD, thanks to the efforts of the Olympic Broadcasting Services and Japanese broadcaster NHK,” Veale said. “Over in Russia, all FIFA World Cup games were also shot in 4K UHD, delivered via satellite, cable, IP and OTT. These two sporting events proved to be ideal test beds for broadcasting the format and demonstrating its benefits.”

Beyond broadcast, 4K UHD presents a window of opportunity for Blu-ray, with up to 30 4K UHD Blu-ray discs released every month and player prices dropping into the sweet spot, according to the consulting firm. “Despite this, consumer uptake of 4K UHD Blu-ray players is slow, perhaps due to a lack of vendor initiatives and retailer support beyond the USA and Canada,” the firm stated.

The availability of 4K UHD content on SVoD services reinforces consumer perceptions that this delivery mechanism is at the cutting edge of entertainment technology, according to Futuresource.

“However, there is a very small, if any, additional cost for UHD via SVoD services which is contrary to positioning this as a premium product,” the firm stated.

Digital transactional models for 4K UHD are also experiencing “a period of turbulent pricing,” according to Futuresource.

“Service providers and rights holders alike are experimenting extensively with price points, content bundles and delivery mechanisms, creating a customer journey that could become disjointed and fragmented,” according to the firm.

Although UHD Blu-ray prices remains largely consistent, with a premium price, digital services are significantly undercutting this in an attempt to invigorate the format and drive a digital ownership mentality.

“With digital UHD it’s all about capturing a big slice of the audience as quickly as possible, attracting eyeballs and locking people in for the long-term,” Veale said. “As a result, we’re seeing some aggressive promotions out there, with 4K UHD content available to buy at prices in line with the purchase price of HD movies. However, companies need to keep an eye firmly fixed on consistency, ensuring confusion remains at a minimum.”

View Futuresource reports here.

Report: 4K Set-Top Box Global Installed Base Reached 31M units in 2017

4K UHD content available on pay-TV and broadcast may be limited, but that has stopped proliferation of 4K-compatible set-top devices by pay-TV operators.

According to new research from Dataxis, the global installed base for 4K set- top boxes has grown more than 900% to 31 million units, at the end of 2017, compared to only 3 million units in 2015. Operators around the world are deploying 4K boxes in response to sales of 4K-compatible televisions, which is reflecting in the global numbers, according to the report.

Notably, Europe is growing at the fastest rate accounting for 52% of the total 4K boxes in 2017, followed by Asia-Pacific excluding China (32%), North and Latin America (5%), Middle-East (4%) and Africa (1%).