HDTV and 4K Ultra HDTV Predictions for 2015
With 2014 now over and done, it’s time to look forward. We’ve collected information from our TV industry contacts, and are ready to make predictions for 2015.
But let’s first look back at how we did with our 2014 predictions.
Our forecast of more curved screens came true with additional offerings by Samsung and LG, in both 4K UHD and HDTV (the LGs are all OLEDs), along with a new Sony curved 4K model in Europe.
4K UHDTV (3840 x 2160 resolution) took over, as predicted, on the more expensive models, pushing out the high end HDTVs (except for the biggest screen sizes). The prices fell rapidly in the fourth quarter, taking over price points held by HDTVs just a few months earlier.
We blew it predicting another OLED TV maker, with Samsung dropping out. LG has carried on with large screen OLED technology, introducing flat HDTV and curved 4K UHD models near year end.
Our prediction about 4K UHDTV cable and satellite broadcasts turned out to be premature. DirecTV successfully launched its 4K satellites, however it has yet to announce when it will begin beaming 4K programs to subscribers. There are Pay Per View 4K UHD movies available from DirecTV but they are delivered by the Internet not the satellite. No word yet at all from the cable companies. Netflix and Amazon added content, as well as Sony with its own media player. M-Go in 4K also went active, but only for Samsung 4K TVs.
Plasma made it to the end of the year with some great deals. But alas, by the end of 2014 both Samsung and LG wound up production, marking the end of the plasma TV era. Heck, they still make a great HDTV picture!
Samsung added additional models and sizes of 4K LED LCD UHDTVs throughout the year, and there were more UHD models from the other TV makers including LG, Sony, Toshiba and Sharp. Vizio shipped its models too, and we were underwhelmed by its performance.
More Smart Soundbars arrived, along with additional sound pedestals called soundplates from a variety of makers.
We squeaked through on our 4K UHD media player prediction, with only Samsung offering a model that came preloaded with 10 movies, and a number of shorts, in 4K, but the rest of the market seems to be taking a wait and see.
3D continued to be offered by the biggest TV manufacturers with models offered in 1080p and 2160p UHD. Only Vizio and Toshiba pulled out of the 3D market in 2014.
We again missed the mark on the elusive Apple iTV television. We are throwing in the towel as we have not heard a peep about it in recent months.
Final score 7out of 10 for 70% accurate prediction.
Predictions for 2015
1) More OLED TVs We predict there will be more large-screen OLED models offered by LG and at least one other brand in 2015. The panels may be sourced by LG, with the circuitry being made by the other brand. We have hopes the first inkjet-printed OLED may make it to market by the end of the year, but it likely won’t arrive until 2016.
2) 4K UHD Offerings Expand There will be far more 2160p televisions offered by the major brands, as even lower prices shrink the 1080p TV selection. This will especially be the case in larger screens (over 65-inches) and models with a full array of features.
3) Many New TVs With Wider Color Gamut Expanded color will be a big push feature on numerous models from the major TV brands. There will be 3 methods to accomplish this: new LED backlights with expanded color; models with quantum dots (Sony has and soon LG will offer them, at least according to an earlier press release; and at least one vendor is planning on a combination of Laser and LEDs.
The other big news: for the first time we expect programs (streamed and disc) to include meta data that will tell many (but not necessarily all) of these expanded color models how to accurately display the wider color. To date, all the quantum dot models had to “guess,” resulting in false color (compared to the disc authoring).
4) 3D Fading Fast What a difference a year makes. 3D will no longer appear on lower-to-mid-level models, and instead be relegated to either the highest-end models. Some brands won’t offer 3D at all, forcing 3D fans to pony up for 4K UHD resolution. Don’t expect glasses free 3D anytime soon.
5) More Curved HDTVs and UHDTVs We expect additional curved screens from LG and Samsung, with other brands getting into the act. At least one Chinese LCD panel maker has developed curved screen technology, and it should show up within at least one vendor’s model line.
6) 4K UHD Blu-ray Will Arrive The movie and TV industry have gotten together and the new discs and players will come in the 4th quarter of 2015. The players will have new features, including expanded color (we expect it will be the digital cinema DCI color gamut), as well as other picture enhancements besides resolution.
7) High Dynamic Range Televisions LED LCD performance will be enhanced with a combination of higher dynamic range, with brighter, more accurate colors and whites, along with 10-bit panels for 1024 grayscale steps (up from the current 256). This feature will be active with metadata embedded in the new 4K UHD discs (and probably streaming as well). First shown at the 2014 CES, we expect a number of makers to incorporate the technology in their highest end models. Dolby and other companies are developing the technology.
8) Major TV Brands Drop or Trim HDTV Screens Smaller Than 40-inches In a quest to achieve some or more profit, small TVs will be limited to just a single model per screen size, or completely gone from 2015 model lines. Sharp has already sold its name on small screens as a Best Buy brand, so the small models are being built by contract vendors, just like Vizio does. However, unlike Vizio, Sharp builds its own larger screen TVs.
9) Bendable TVs Will Arrive What we like to call GumbyVision, these new 4K UHD models can be set, whenever you want, to flat or curved mode. First shown by LG and Samsung as prototypes at the 2014 CES, we expect production models this year.
10) Toshiba to Exit The US TV Business Ending on sad note it appears Toshiba will not be showing any televisions at the 2015 CES. Its market share has drastically declined in North America, with just 1.7 percent of the TV market revenue in 2014. We predict Toshiba will pull out of the US TV business in 2015.
That wraps up our 2015 predictions. We wish all our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year.
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