Driven by Japan's determination to broadcast the 2020 Winter Olympics in 8K, and China's rampant consumption of new resolution formats, shipments of 8K ultra-high definition displays (7680 x 4320 pixels) are expected to only grow from just 2,700 this year to around 911,000 by 2020, according to IHS.
The indicator that 8K will remain a niche resolution format for at least another five years has relevance to pay-TV providers, including Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), which are just now beginning to roll out limited 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) programming services. Indeed, the 4K resolution format is just now getting some global traction. IHS reported a record 3 million global 4K display shipments in April.
"The biggest inhibitor to the growth of 8K TV will be consumer screen size preferences," said Paul Gray, principal analyst for IHS. "8K requires a very large screen or the higher resolution becomes invisible at normal viewing distances. The average screen size in the TV market has grown by an inch each year over the past decade, but it is still a long haul before sizes over 70 inches become commonplace."
As it is for 4K, China will be the fastest growing market for 8K, Gray said.
"We can be confident that a combination of enhanced local panel production and consumers eager for the latest technology will make China the driving factor in 8K television growth," Gray said.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government is working with domestic cable operators, broadcasters and TV manufacturers with the goal of establishing ubiquitous 4K services across Japan's TV industry by 2016--and broad 8K services in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK is currently leading experiments in 8K transmission--or what it calls "Super-Hi-Vision." In May of 2014, NHK demonstrated an 8K cable transmission by using three 6 MHz channels (two 256 QAMs and one 64 QAM) to transfer one 105-Mbps 8K stream through J:Com's 21 km HFC line.
- read this IHS press release
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