LG's 84-inch 4K Ultra Definition 3D TV. Photo: AFP
News that LG has seen brisk sales of its 84-inch ultra-high definition TV since its launch suggests that the market for the new TV technology could be bigger than originally thought.
According to the world's leading TV makers, ultra-high-definition TV (UHDTV) is the future and not only that, but the future is here today. However, according to TV broadcasters and the high-tech journalistic community, while there is no doubt that the depth of resolution these TV sets offers is like nothing ever experienced before, there will never be a market for these TVs until native content exists for them. And while test broadcasts are currently taking place, no national or international broadcaster has plans to start making or broadcasting their programming in 4K UHD within the next two years. Then there is the price. These gargantuan 80-inch televisions retail for anything from US$20,000 to $37,000.
Yet despite the price, the amount of free wall space needed to mount one and the dearth of suitable content available, according to Chosun Ilbo LG has already sold 300 of its flagship $22,000 84-inch UHD TVs in South Korea alone since August.
The latest Digitimes research, published this week, estimates that by 2014 a total of 10 million ultra-high defintion TV sets will be shipped globally in 2014 but believes that due to the currently prohibative price tag - due in part to expensive production costs and small-scale manufacturing, the market for the TV sis likely to be 3.83 million units in 2013. Those figures seemed rather optimistic when the current drawbacks effecting the technololgy are taken into consideration. However, if LG alone can be 0.1% closer to the global shipment total from sales in South Korea alone, perhaps the numbers aren't quite so optimistic.
As well as LG, Samsung and Sony have also officially launched similarly sized UHD TV sets in recent months and these are expected to be joined by TVs from Toshiba, Sharp and Panasonic later this year.