It's still unclear whether a global market for 4K/UltraHD services from pay-TV providers will ever develop, but an installed base of 4K-capable TV sets does appear to be establishing itself.
Research firm IHS reports that shipments of 4K TVs reached a record high of 3 million units in April. Of all TVs sold around the world, 14 percent were 4K-capable, the report says.
That share is expected to rise to 20 percent of all TVs sold by 2015, the firm said.
"Prices for 4K TV panels continued to decline in 2014 and early this year, causing a rise in their adoption," said Linda Lin, a senior analyst at IHS. "Most global TV brands have now launched 4K UHD products and are introducing more 4K models to their television offerings."
The U.S. market has seen a quickening uptake of 4K display technology in homes, but the market's growth continues to be slowed by a dearth of 4K content.
Both DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) launched 4K programming services on their advanced DVR set-tops late last year. But six months after their introduction, neither company has announced any usage figures for these products.
However, DirecTV continues to launch new satellites to, in part, support 4K service. Philip Goswitz, senior VP of video, space and communications for DirecTV, said in March that he expects "50 to 70" 4K programming networks by 2020.
- read this IHS press release
Comcast introduces new 4K set-top, expands Ultra HD service beyond new Samsung TVs
4K displays' global revenue will double to $18.8B this year, report says
Netflix is fast-tracking 4K, HDR to push Open Connect, beat cable
DirecTV's Goswitz: Satellite operator to have 50-70 4K channels by 2020