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$20,000 4K TV: What’s The Point?

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AS LG gets ready to launch the first 4K Smart TV in OZ this month, new figures suggest the emerging Ultra Hi-Def 4K LCD technology (3,840 by 2,160) or almost 4000 pixels, will fail to make a dent in LCD market.

4K televisions sport a pixel format four times that of a typical high-definition set (1,920 by 1,080) but is said to have unbelievable depth and screen clarity.

But demand for ultra-high-definition 4K TVs will remain “negligible for the foreseeable future, with shipments never accounting for more than 1% of the global display (LCD) TV market during the next five years” analysts iHS said today.

Just 4,000 of the high end 4K TVs are to be shipped this year, although this will rise to 2.1 million in 2017, just 0.8%.

And that’s at its peak in five years, when 4K tech is far more commonplace.

LG is to unveil the very first 84″ UD TV to Australia next Tuesday and would not be drawn on expected demand here when contacted by Channel News, saying it will reveal all next week.

The LG mammoth TV is rumoured to costs around the $20K mark, although this won’t be confirmed until next week’s launch.

However, 4K is available in other markets including Asia. Sony announced an 84-inch 4K LCD-TV priced at $25,000 in Japan and Toshiba is selling a 55-inch model priced at a more reasonable $10,000.

Chinese brands Hisense and Konka are also jumping on the 4K bandwagon, although Samsung are backing OLED technology instead, saying the amount of content on 4K is too little.

But maybe they shouldn’t bother.

IHS believes that neither consumers nor TV brands will have the interest required to make the 4K LCD-TV market successful.

This anaemic demand for 4K is despite some several “high profile” launches by big names, analysts note.

Several consumers CN spoke to that own a HD TV already said they would not spend $20K on a TV.

“No amount of money I had would justify buying that” one TV user said in an emailed comment.

“Does this TV happen to be made of gold nuggets?” another quipped.

“If you have a television that is 60-inches or larger and are watching video that has a 3,840 by 2,160 resolution, then a 4K television makes sense,” said Tom Morrod, director, TV systems IHS.

But a very limited amount of content is available at 4K resolution, high prices and other issues, are among the issues with  the new technology and “for most people, 1,080p HD resolution is good enough,” IHS notes.

The market for super-sized, +60″ sets is only 1.5% of total TV shipments in 2012.

The 4K sets are just filling the gap at the high-end TV market until the arrival of the next-generation active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes televisions (AMOLED TVs) arrive, says Morrod.

“Japanese brands are offering 4K product because they need to have a competitive alternative to the AMOLED TVs being sold by their rivals in South Korea, Samsung and LG Electronics. “

South Korean companies are having difficulties producing AMOLED panels, saying they will need two more years to achieve competitive volume and pricing, thus are flogging 4K until then.