4K TV Sets Sales Continue To Grow -- But What About 4K TV Networks?

We continually see fast-moving technological changes to the big living-room screen mentioned in headlines. Something on the order of: “4K TV market set to explode!”

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.

4 comments about "4K TV Sets Sales Continue To Grow -- But What About 4K TV Networks?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Walter Graff from Bluesky Media, April 11, 2016 at 3:43 p.m.

    Don't be fooled by a manufacturering gimmick. There will be no mass 4k networks. 

  2. Michael Harris from, April 11, 2016 at 4:02 p.m.

    Finally, 4K/UHD content is around the corner, initially as smaller scale, dedicated UHD channels on broadcast streaming networks.  Soon will launch a Roku 4K/UHD channel offering surprisingly engaging video art animations derived from ultra high resolution digital scans of 19th C. color art facsimile prints.


    Until my 4K/UHD channel goes live, if you have a 4K display, you can download/embed many 4K/UHD clips searching “Visual Ambrosia” on  But you MUST download them first.  Unless you download, the many free UHD clips on look low resolution when just streamed straight from the vimeo website.


    For a quick look,  without the need to download, instead, go to YouTube, search Visual Ambrosia, and stream some clips; DO use the spoke wheel for Settings and select 4K resolution for best results.  Any questions, just ask.

  3. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, April 11, 2016 at 4:54 p.m.

    Manufacturers want 4K to be as big economically as the shift to "HD". What I think they have missed is that the shift to HD was NOT about the picture quality primarily. The shift was a combination of things. Picture quality was a nice advantage. But more critically, HD shift was the shift from tubes to thin screens (and LIGHT screens) and BIG screens.

    Prior to "HD", it was a rare house that could have a big screen - because a 40" tube TV required 5 huge guys to move it. But my son and I can move our 56" LED.

    And this is pretty typical in marketing. The makers (and consultants and commentators) continue to believe HD became popular primarily because of the better picture. Consumers bought it for that somewhat - but also for other things. My hunch is we're looking at 30% of the sale is HD quality, 30% of the sale is lightweight, 30% of the sale was bigger screens, and 10% were new features.

    What this means is WITHOUT size/weight, they'd have never taken off. SmartTV's aren't selling because of their innovation - but they're the only thing you can buy. So no one should expect 4K to produce similar sales volume for makers even IF there are vast numbers of new 4K networks.

  4. Michael Hamilton from The Real Picture, April 12, 2016 at 1:18 p.m.

    The columnist and the commentors cannot be farther from reality. The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) dictates the formats used in every United Nations member country. With ITU-Rec. 2020 the roadmap for the changeover has been in place since 2012 and the targets as far as Color Space (in order to replicate colors viewed in the observational world) were determined in 1982. HD did not hit the mark due to technological issues with analog picture tubes (CRTs) at the time.
    Hollywood has been shooting in 6K and sometimes greater for well over a decade. Japan is skipping 4K and vowing to have 8K ready in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo.
    Perhaps a trip to CES might be in order so articles regarding such matter can be researched and presented with viable information and not conjecture.
    BTW, streaming does not even come close to representing what 100Mbs UHD looks like - the color is so heavily compressed to accomodate carrier space.
    The US will be up and running with 4K by early 2018 with most major markets. Issues now are settling Internet-related content formatting as the networks realize they need to shift from an OTA model into one that accomodates streaming and stream-and-save.

Next story loading loading..