Strong promotion of 4K display resolutions from TV makers, display manufacturers and distribution channels has successfully increased consumer awareness and boosted 4K LCD TV penetration in 2014, according to a new report from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a global source of critical information and insight. While 4K is best known as a feature in high-end LCD TVs, starting this year 4K displays will emerge in all major display applications, including desktop monitors, notebook PCs, OLED TVs, digital signage, smartphones and tablet PCs.
The latest Quarterly Worldwide FPD Shipment and Forecast Report from IHS reveals that the 4K display market reached $9.2 billion last year. 4K LCD TV contributed $8.8 billion to overall revenue; however, in 2015, 4K displays are coming to all major applications and will boost 4K revenue 94 percent year over year, reaching $18 billion in 2015. With the evolution of new display process technologies, to enhance the 4K display yield rate and lower costs, IHS forecasts that the 4K display market will be reach $52 billion in 2020.
“Since its market introduction in 2013, TV brands have recognized that 4K is a great way to enhance value, so they have strongly promoted 4K models,” said David Hsieh, senior director of display research for IHS. “4K content and broadcasting availability is also on the rise, which is helping more TV buyers recognize the value of this feature. Meanwhile, LCD TV panel makers have continuously improved 4K panel yield, which has reduced costs and facilitated even more consumer adoption.”
In 2015, LCD panel makers are targeting 40 million 4K LCD TV panel shipments, which represent 17 percent of all LCD TV panel shipments. In addition to TVs, consumers are starting to enjoy the benefits of ultra-high-resolution content in their smartphones and other mobile devices. Meanwhile, the “TV everywhere” concept is increasing consumer desire for higher resolution screens in their mobile devices. The professional-monitor and public-display market are also increasingly adopting 4K displays.
4K LCD TVs continue to be the largest segment of the 4K display market, but smartphones and OLED TVs will experience the strongest growth this year. In order to compete with LCD TV in the high-end segment, OLED TV makers are including 4K resolutions. As display technology is improving fine-pitch pixel designs and brightness transmittance, 4K displays will become more affordable for mobile devices. In fact, panel makers like Sharp and JDI have recently announced and exhibited 4K smartphone panels. 4K tablet-PC displays, using oxide (IGZO) and low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) processes, are also in panel makers’ plans.
On the other hand, sub-pixel rendering (SPR) technology will become an important way for panel makers to enhance 4K pixel design in their displays. For many years now, various versions of SPR have been used in the commercial production of AMOLED and LCD displays. Essentially they use two sub-pixels per white pixel, to offer a similar perceived resolution as conventional three-color red-green-blue (RGB) displays.
“The main benefits of SPR include fewer sub-pixels, higher transmission and lower power consumption,” Hsieh said. “SPR is an important element in the growth of the 4K display market.”
The IHS Quarterly Worldwide FPD Shipment and Forecast Report covers worldwide shipments and forecasts for all major flat panel display applications, including detail from over 140 flat-panel display (FPD) producers, covering more than 10 countries. The report analyzes historical shipments and forecast projections, which provide some of the most detailed information and insights available.