IHS: World Cup Soccer Spiked Global TV Sales in 2018

Last summer’s FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament in Russia helped increase global TV sales 2.9% to 221 million units, according to new data from IHS Markit Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 more than half of all shipments were ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs with increasingly larger screen sizes.

“Average new TV screen sizes are still growing at least one inch per year,” Paul Grey, research director, said in a statement. “With falling LCD panel prices, consumers clearly care more about trading-up in size than about spending less money. Even in Japan, where consumers have been resistant to buying large TVs, the average screen size increased year over year.”

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Indeed, UHD TV shipments reached 99 million units. China led the global market with 30.1 million TVs shipped in 2018, followed by North America with 24.7 million. Nearly 63% of TV sets in Western Europe shipped with UHD resolution in the fourth quarter of 2018, the largest share of any global region.

Meanwhile, 18,600 8K TVs shipped globally in 2018.

“The launch of an 8K channel by Japan’s NHK network, was an important landmark last year, which led to an acceleration in 8K TV shipments in Japan during Q4,” Gray said.

Separately, smart TVs that support UHD through streaming services continued to rise in volume. More than three-quarters of TVs shipped in quarter were smart TVs. In North America, more than 85% of all TVs were smart TVs, which is 10% higher than the previous year.

Finally, just under 1 million OLED TVs shipped in the quarter, up 20% over the prior year. Thanks to increasing competition, large-screen 55-inch OLED TVs hit new levels of affordability in Western Europe. Meanwhile, OLED TV shipments to North America fell 26%, year over year, due in part to aggressive price declines in very large LCD TV sizes.

Panasonic 4K OLED TV Designed With Hollywood Help

Panasonic Jan. 7 announced the launch of the GZ2000, featuring a Professional Edition 4K OLED panel tuned in Hollywood that incorporates custom hardware improvements by Panasonic.

“Optimized by a leading Hollywood colorist, the new panel highlights unparalleled color accuracy and significantly better than average brightness levels,” according to a Panasonic press release.

Panasonic announced it is the world’s first TV to support the high dynamic range formats HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as the HLG Photo format, the new still image format which brings still photography into the HDR world.

“Together, Dolby and Panasonic are bringing best-in-class audio and imaging technology to Panasonic’s TVs,” said John Couling, SVP, commercial partnerships, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos perfectly complement the GZ2000’s advanced display, transforming it into an entertainment powerhouse.”

The GZ2000 is also “the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos immersive audio with total ease and convenience,” Panasonic announced. “The total audio system has also been tuned by Technics engineers.”

Supporting both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the GZ2000 can integrate with a smart home setup.

Available in 65-inch and 55-inch screen sizes, the GZ2000 OLED features the color-tuning skills of Stefan Sonnenfeld. Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Company 3, is “a trusted collaborator of some of the world’s best filmmakers,” Panasonic announced, applying his skills as a colorist to such features as A Star Is Born, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and 300. He uses Panasonic OLED screens as large-format client reference monitors in his daily workflow, according to the release.

The TV’s average brightness level has been boosted significantly and contrast handling improved, resulting in increased dynamic range, the release stated.

“HDR content now looks even more impactful, with the GZ2000 effortlessly able to reproduce tricky scenes of variable brightness and contrast — often found in live sports broadcasts and in action movies,” the release stated. “Because of this level of customization, combined with the exceptional color-optimizing skills of Sonnenfeld, Panasonic has created some of the most accurate, cinematic images ever seen on a TV.

“Additionally, in response to requests from Hollywood’s professional users, Panasonic has extended the range and reduced the interval between calibration steps at the darkest end of the RGB and gamma scales.”

The GZ2000 is also compatible with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), an HDR format expected to be widely adopted by TV broadcasters, the release stated.

The GZ2000 also features Panasonic’s new My Home Screen 4.0, which allows viewers to tailor the TV user interface to their own preferences, the release stated. The layout of the home screen can be reconfigured to allow customized layouts. Access to VOD and broadcast content is also easier thanks to a redesigned GUI that includes icons for decks that provide shortcuts to live TV, connected devices and apps such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. Viewers can even add frequently watched TV stations to the home screen.

LG Rolls Out Roll Up TV

LG Electronics literally rolled out what SVP of marketing David Vanderwaal called the “ultimate future TV”; it’s a TV that rolls out of the sound bar box below.

To oohs and aahs from the crowd, the company unveiled its LG Signature OLED TV R, which “magically rolls up,” senior director of product marketing Tim Alessi added during a Jan. 7 press conference at the CES show in Las Vegas.

The TV “brings freedom of design to a space,” Vanderwaal noted.

The TV can roll up only partway in the box, which includes a Dolby Atmos soundbar, to become a control console to check the weather and perform other functions.

In what is called the “zero view,” the TV is hidden completely and can be used to play music.

The company also announced LG’s first 8K OLED TV, device compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa (in addition to Google’s Assistant announced last year) and the addition of Apple AirPlay to the 2019 TVs.

In partnership with Qualcomm, LG phones will include the Snapdragon 5G mobile platform.

“5G will be a reality in 2019,” said Jim Tran, SVP and GM of handset products for Qualcomm Technologies, adding “you will be able to download a 4K movie in seconds.”

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.”

LG Introduces ‘World’s First’ 8K OLED TV

LG Electronics is introducing the world’s first 8K (7680 x 4320) OLED TV, according to a company press release.

Previewed at IFA 2018, the 88-inch, 8K LG OLED TV features more than 33 million self-emitting pixels to produce the “unmatched contrast ratio and true blacks that define OLED TV’s iconic picture quality,” according to the release.

OLED TV shipments in the market are expected to double in 2018 and reach more than 9 million units by 2022, with the 8K TV market expected to grow to more than 5 million units by 2022, the release stated.

“LG’s first 8K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and the next evolutionary step in display technology,” said Brian Kwon, president of LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “4K OLED played a major role in reshaping the TV industry, and LG is confident that 8K OLED will do the same.”

LG Bowing 88-Inch 8K OLED TV at CES

Bigger — especially hype — is better when it comes to the annual Consumer Electronics Show taking place Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

LG Electronics announced it will showcase the world’s first 88-inch 8K OLED display featuring 33 million pixels — four times the clarity of 4K Ultra HD.

“OLED is clearly a next-generation technology leader and for this reason, LG Display is accelerating its research and development into OLED so that we can provide differentiated products to customers and markets,” CTO In-Byung Kang said in a statement.

LG says the OLED TV display maintains a slim design without requiring excessive backlighting. The company noted LCD displays with 8K resolution inevitably get heavier and thicker because backlight units need to be placed directly behind the panels to achieve the same level of brightness and picture quality as 4K displays — the current top resolution.

OLED displays, however, are superior for higher resolution due to lower aperture ratios — the area that light can pass through as it is not covered by the black matrix and the wiring portion (electric circuit) in the entire area of the pixel.

LG announced its 8K OLED display creates even more “delicate” images, citing comments from DisplayMate, a display-testing and rating body, praising OLED TVs as visually “indistinguishable from perfect,” with the highest absolute color accuracy, the highest absolute luminance accuracy, and the highest contrast ratio.

LG’s newest model likely won’t come cheap. The manufacturer’s currently available 77-inch 4K OLED TV reportedly retails for $20,000.