The 4K Ultra HD segment of the U.S. TV market remains largely dominated by four key brands (Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony), but an increasingly growing share of the market is coming from smaller brands that are entering the category as the technology becomes more affordable, according to a study from San Diego-based market research firm, Gap Intelligence.

Deirdre Kennedy, Gap Intelligence TV market research analyst said where a year ago the four largest TV manufacturers (plus Sharp) owned nearly 100 percent of the 4K Ultra HD TV market, today smaller brands have managed to eke out a 9 percent stake in overall retail placements. This is driving costs and pricing lower and establishing entry-level options for commodity TV shoppers.

Interestingly, Sharp’s presence among 4K retail placements has decreased dramatically over the past year, as Hisense attempts to gain a foothold following the brand acquisition in 2014.

Read more on the changing 4K Ultra HD market after the jump:

Brand Performance on Amazon

The changing nature of the 4K UHD TV market is seen on, according to Kennedy, although Sharp and Vizio’s shares have decreased dramatically over the year on the giant e-commerce platform.  Gap Intelligence shows that while Vizio did place a couple of its entry-level 4K TVs at Amazon earlier in the year, its end-of-year absence is notable, as is the fact that it never placed any of its M-Series or P-Series models at the online retailer during the course of the year.  Kennedy noted that other brands that virtually disappeared from Amazon’s assortment include: Polaroid, Proscan, Sansui, Toshiba, and Upstar.

Retail Placements By Resolution

At the same time, 4K Ultra HD retail placements have been a major surge over the past five months. According to Gap’s chart, the growth of 4K model presence is coming at the direct expense of Full HD 1080p TVs.  Ultra HD models are supplanting the high-end of the Full HD market, with the lower-resolution sets working their way down the lineup from there.

4K UHD and HDTVs

Amazon’s Camera, Photo & Video Deals

Amazon Fire TV 4K Ultra HD Set-Top Media Adapter with Alexa

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Amazon Echo Voice Controlled Wireless Speaker and Home System Interface

Amazon Echo Dot Voice Controlled Home System Interface

Panasonic  Deals

Best Selling Soundbars and 5.1 Surround Systems

Best Selling Blu-ray Players

As a result, the majority of 1080p TVs remaining on the market tend to be from smaller manufacturers offering mostly cheaper, entry-level units.  The 720p HDTV segment has not been affected, since this area of the market remains dominated by small-screen TVs that would not see a benefit from increased resolution anyway, Kennedy pointed out.

Large Screen Sizes Advance

Over time, retail placements of TVs sized 55-inches and above indicate “a clear trend toward 4K models moving faster than the market as a whole,” said Kennedy. “In fact, it is unlikely that we will see any TVs sized 55-inches or above introduced in the new year.”


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