It’s noteworthy that most of the world’s 4K television sets in use reside in Chinese households. While 4K TV has been marketed elsewhere as a premium product (with the requisite high price tags), the Chinese market has been flooded with low cost 4K televisions. Granted, most of these televisions have low refresh rates (30HZ), and are being sold without much available 4K content, the site Display Search Blog estimates that of the 1.5 million 4K TV shipments forecast for 2014, one million will be shipped (or rather, stay) in China.
According to Display Search Blog, the 4K boom in China has helped panel makers to further lower costs of 4K televisions, while improving quality, through the following means:
- Lowering driving frequency to reduce panel electronics cost
- Integrating of 4K panel electronics, such as timing controller
- Revising backlight and LED structure to improve luminous efficiency
- Using subpixel designs like RGBW with for higher brightness and yield rate
- Increasing production scale to reduce depreciation cost and enhance yield rate
For those still of the mindset that Chinese televisions will be grossly inferior to their Japanese and Korean counterparts, I point to the much lauded budget 4K TVs from Chinese manufacturer Seiki. Or perhaps it’s helpful to put it as a question: will Seiki’s next television be better or worse than its previous television?
The Chinese 4K boom has reversed the top-down life cycle of HD television. At the dawn of high definition, it would be unthinkable that a Chinese model could compete with the early and high-priced HD sets. Now, Chinese manufacturers, although focusing on the low end, have the ability to increase the quality of its 4K sets in short generations, meaning they could be in direct competition with those brands we’ve come to know and trust.
And it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese video tech industry builds on the momentum of such offerings as the KineRAW and exports options abroad.
8. Plummeting Prices
Whether due to increased pressure from upstart Chinese manufacturers or competition from the other more established brands, the prices of 4K television sets could halve in 2014, according to a Trusted Reviews interview with Jonathan Marsh, Head Buyer at the UK retailer John Lewis.
Lewis stated that as “these technologies mature, they have come down in price and become much more affordable very quickly.” It’s a little shocking to think that 4K television, barely a blip in 2013 (everywhere except China), could “mature” in less than a year’s time, but such a precipitous fall in prices would make 4K televisions an attractive product for this year’s Christmas buying season.