China is dominating the 4K TV market, with 42% of all TVs in 2017 expected to ship with 4K panels, according to analysts at IHS Markit. The 2016 figures for 4K TVs in China market is above 25 million, and by 2020, that number is expected to almost double to 44 million.

“China is on a different trajectory to the rest of the world when it comes to 4K TVs,” said Paul Gray, principal analyst, IHS Markit. “It is getting hard to buy a large screen TV in China without 4K. Japanese set makers also aggressively switched to 4K product ranges, especially in their domestic market, but shipments in Japan remain constrained by consumer preferences for screen sizes too small to support 4K.”

 
IHS Markit forecast-4K TV by region fig1 (cr) Figure 1: IHS Markit's 4K TV shipment forecast by region.  

The 2020 projection of 4K TV shipment to China will match that of Western Europe and North America shipments combined, according to the market research firm. In Western Europe, more than 8 million 4K TVs shipped in 2016, foreseen to increase to 19 million in 2020. North American shipments are expected to more than double, from 11.7 million in 2016 to 25.9 million in 2020.

Partiality on 8K pixel

“Aggressive competition in the LCD display industry is fuelling a pixel race,” Gray said. “Panel makers have added 8K resolutions to their road maps and product plans, a process that will accelerate as new Chinese LCD fabs start production.”

China will dominate 8K shipments as its early-adopting consumers are likely to be eager for new features. The 65-inch will be the dominant 8K size, driven by affordable pricing in China. While Japan is planning 8K broadcasts from 2020, for most regions 8K video content will remain scarce for the foreseeable future.

However, the IHS Markit report highlights a few challenges for 8K. For example, the high pixel density demands that either a very large screen or short viewing distance is necessary, analysts said.