i3 | February 19, 2019

Higher IQs and Pixel Counts for TVs

Rick Kowalski

The future of TV is on display at CES 2019, including a look at 8K video displays. Manufacturers are showing their latest, top-of-the-line displays that will soon hit store shelves. While picture quality is certainly the focus of many announcements, there is also much discussion about where we will get our video programming and how we will interact with our TV sets in the years to come.

All eyes are on the next big upgrade in screen resolution. 8K displays are marking a milestone in clarity and picture quality as new models begin shipping to the U.S. 8K video, which quadruples the number of pixels that 4K Ultra HD offers, allows for larger displays that don’t lose image clarity, providing a more immersive viewing experience. But 8K will impact more than just TV viewing. Higher screen resolution is especially relevant to virtual reality, where more pixels help to improve the visual experience in all-encompassing VR applications.

These new televisions are also smarter. Eighty-seven percent of TVs shipping this year will be smart, as compared with just two percent in 2009. Smart TVs have expanded new distribution channels for online video, with consumers expected to spend more than $16 billion on subscription video streaming services this year.

Manufacturers are increasing the IQ of their smart displays by including voice-activated digital assistants. Up until now, TVs and streaming media players have accepted voice commands through the remote. However, some sets now include far-field microphone arrays, to allow viewers to vocally command the TV from across the room without speaking into a microphone on the remote. Regardless of the location of the microphone, TVs are increasingly becoming a focal point for smart home interaction and control.

4K Progress Report

While 8K is still in its infancy, its older sibling 4K is set to have a stellar year. CTA predicts that 4K TVs will make up 55 percent of all units shipped in 2019. As more U.S. households become 4K-capable, so follows the universe of available 4K content. Subscription streaming services are leading the way, leapfrogging broadcast and traditional pay TV services in providing the most 4K programming. That’s not to say that 4K won’t be delivered through other channels.

A new over-the-air (OTA) digital television standard is on the horizon. ATSC 3.0 will provide more bandwidth for the delivery of 4K video at up to 120 Hz, high-dynamic range (HDR) content and will improve mobile transmissions. ATSC 3.0 rolled out across South Korea last summer, and trials are under way in several U.S. cities. Most U.S. OTA broadcasters are expected to implement ATSC 3.0 in late 2019 and early 2020.

For more information on CTA’s forecasts for 8K TVs and ATSC 3.0-enabled displays, look for the January 2019 edition of the CTA U.S. Consumer Technology Sales & Forecasts.

Rick Kowalski
January/February 2019 i3 Cover Issue

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