Early forecasts suggest three times more 4K TV sets could be sold this year than in 2014 as prices fall and content continues to rise. Meanwhile, the UHD Alliance is drawing up HDR standards to coincide with the release of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs at the end of the year...

Next year, one in five new TVs will be 4K, according to US-based research company IHS Inc. Its latest research shows more than three million 4K sets were shipped in April this year alone.

If the monthly figures remain steady for the rest of 2015, the year's total will reach more than 36 million units – over three times the amount in 2014.

No doubt the falling price of 4K TVs is playing a crucial part in the flourishing figures, not to mention the increase of 4K content, products and services. 4K streaming service catalogues – from Netflix and Amazon – are steadily building; Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are expected by the end of the year; and 4K-supporting set-top boxes and broadcasts are on the horizon.

BT Sport recently announced it was going to launch an Ultra HD channel in August and broadcast events such as the Community Shield, UEFA Champions League and Aviva Premiership rugby in 4K resolution.

Read all our 4K Ultra HD TV reviews

More after the break

HDR: is a format war brewing?

Now that the UHD Blu-ray disc spec has been confirmed, all eyes are on another of 2015’s buzzwords: HDR (High Dynamic Range), a technology that promises even brighter whites and darker blacks. 

As the theory goes, the higher the dynamic range of the TV, the more lifelike the picture will look. 

HDR is confirmed for UHD Blu-ray discs, but the standards of the technology and how it’s going to be implemented are still up in the air. 

Hanno Basse, president of the UHD Alliance – a new body working towards an industry-wide standard for all 4K specifications – has made it clear they "want to have a first version [of HDR standards] later this year to coincide with the Blu-Ray Disc Association.” 

Two of the biggest players at the HDR spec-setting table are Dolby and Technicolor, both UHD Alliance members.

Dolby is working on its own line of attack with companies like Vizio and Warner Bros; its Dolby Vision imaging technology promises a wider colour palette, enhanced dynamic range, and dramatically increased contrast ratio – but only with a Dolby Vision-compatible display.

In an interview with HDguru.com, Technicolor’s business development vice president Mark Turner says Technicolor would prefer a more “open HDR standard that can be used on any display”.

"We don’t believe our content-owning customers are best served by creating proprietary HDR grades that only work within certain closed ecosystems," he said.

"Direct backwards compatibility is a key feature for pay-TV operators, broadcasters and even OTT providers who want to use only one file that can deliver both HDR and SDR."

Video streaming service M-GO - a joint venture between Technicolor and Dreamworks Animation - has already announced an HDR over-the-top service launching this year.

Turner also claimed that Technicolor is developing the 'world’s first' UHD HDR set-top box. The backwards-compatible box will decode both HDR and normal (Standard Dynamic Range) content, accommodating those ready to adopt the next-gen video technology, as well as those who aren’t.

HDR has had wide support from hardware manufacturers (Sony, LG, Samsung, Panasonic) and streaming services (Netflix, Amazon), and now we’re seeing commitment from a studio for the first time, with 20th Century Fox confirming its first four Ultra HD titles with HDR mastering.

MORE: 7 of the best 4K TVs for 2015

[Source: HDguru.com]


jjbomber's picture

TV Soap Opera

Remember the TV ads for washing powder, each new and improved powder offering even more brilliant whites. Now the new and improved TVs are offering even more brighter whites. Same story, different product.

spiny norman's picture

Facts, good story, etc

IHS didn't anywhere say 3m 4K TV sets were 'shifted' in April 2015, but rather said that number of 4K display panels were shipped in that month. There's a big difference a figure indicating the number of panels shipped by display manufacturers, and the number of TVs actually sold, and to extrapolate the latter from the former is just plain misleading.

Anyone else get the feeling that 4K is the new 3D? You know, something every manufacturer offers across an increasingly wide part of its range because it's the new marketing buzzword, whether anyone in the mass-market actually knows what it is, or whether they actually need it?

Graham Luke's picture

Snake oil, anyone?

And will anyone older than about ten be able to see the difference...?

Sounds a bit like that hi-res music malarkey. 


Alsone's picture


HDR should make a huge difference.

Watch a few Youtube videos and although you can't get the direct benefits of HDR, even at standard screen resolutions / dynamic ranges, it's clear to see there's a difference between HDR and non HDR content. There are a few classic 8K videos from NHK out there on youtube at trade shows that simply blow the mind for realism.

Also, anyone who has a HDR setting on their phone camera can attest to the difference between HDR and it's normal setting. Whether a phone camera comes anything close to the tv equivolent is difficult to say.

But what we do know for a fact is that the limiting factors between real life and TV are detail, sharness, colour range reproduction and dynamic range. UHD with HDR goes someway to addressing this.

Becky_Roberts's picture

Thanks for your scrutiny,

Thanks for your scrutiny, spiny... sales seem to be on the upward trajectory from last year, though, and it can only be supply and demand that's pushing shipment figures. Only time will tell whether 4K will ever become 'mainstream', but I can't see it falling by the wayside (like 3D has, as you mentioned) if the momentum continues as it is... who knows, in a few years Full HD sets could be almost fizzled out(!)

manicm's picture

Obviously the full benefits

Obviously the full benefits of 4k will be realized on bigger screen, and I too have been sceptical of 4k due to the lack of content. But my wife and I have been increasingly streaming from the internet onto our wifi/internet enabled LED TV, and with Netflix and Amazon now offering 4k content, and with prices now approaching affordable prices, I think the rise of UHD sets are now inevitable.

The only reservation I have is of HDR standards. I would only consider a set with HDR, with a widely accepted technology, and obviously HVEC (Netflix etc) streaming compatibility.

On the other hand I also want to be guaranteed of excellent HD upscaling - I do not want to be buying new formats of my movie collection again. If my Blu-rays don't look as good on a 4k set I will not buy one.