In three years, nearly half of U.S. TV homes will have a 4K TV set, according to Strategy Analytics.
In good news for consumers, those 4K TV sets are about the same price or less than regular HD TV sets of just a few years ago. So from a consumer point of view: Why not? You can now see movies in 4K on streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime and Vudu, and consumers can now get 4K Blu-ray discs and players.
But the real question is: Are 4K TV networks and content set to explode?
Apart from a few isolated and highly touted efforts from Netflix, Amazon, DirecTV, and Dish Network, traditional TV networks -- broadcast and cable -- have remained on the sidelines.
Maybe it’s a wait-and-see thing. If TV set manufacturers do nothing but make 4K TVs, they’ll have a base of TV consumers established. And then should TV networks/content providers amp up production and distribution, this will go somewhere.
But this will take a hefty amount of production/technological expense -- at least when it comes to traditional pay TV transmission, cable, satellite, and telco. And some networks groups are still paying for 3D TV channels they started up -- and abandoned a few years ago.
And if and when TV networks do move, the hungry TV set manufacturers may already moved on to something else -- including what critics say are real improvements in screen technology, such as OLED.
We can see Netflix is no small player when it comes to the TV ecosystem -- over 40 million U.S. subscribers. Maybe if usage of 4K TV on Netflix grows, that will send a signal to TV networks/ providers to expand their horizons.
But consider this: Older technology may have more staying power. Consumers, for example, are holding on to their iPhones longer, according to one report. Why? Maybe there aren’t any really big improvements.
This could be said of the big living-room screen. All to say if TV disruption continues, technological trends might need to take periodic pauses -- as the marketplace looks to digest big change.