Shipments of 4K Ultra HDTVs surpassed expectations in 2015, reaching 6 million units in North America, with forecasts to double that level to 12 million units in 2016, according to data released by market research firm DisplaySearch/IHS.

Much of the success of 4K UHD sets seems to be coming at the expense of lower-resolution models. Paul Gagnon, IHS TV research director, told HD Guru that both HD and Full HD TV shipments are now forecast to decline (-18% Y/Y each) in 2016 as 4K share grows in a flat overall market.

For more on North American TV sales in 2015 and 2016 hit the jump:

In total, North American TV shipments reached 43 million units in 2015, down 1% from 2014. IHS predicts 2016 TV North American TV shipments will drop to 2% to 42 million units by the end of this year.

Manufacturers are shifting more and more of their production toward 4K Ultra HD displays, the majority of which sell in screen sizes over 50-inches, but with a growing number of small-screen size displays as well.

For both 2015 and 2016 the assortment of differentiated HD and Full HD models dissipated significantly, with most of the better features and performance attributes moving into 4K UHD products.


According to IHS, the top five TV brands by market share on a revenue basis for North America in 2015 through the third quarter, were: 1. Samsung (36.8%); 2. Vizio (17.2%); 3. LGE (12.3%); 4. Sony (9.6%) and 5. Funai (Philips/Sanyo/Magnavox/Emerson/Funai) (5.6%).

An up-and-coming brand in the North American TV market in 2015, with significant upside for 2016 is China’s Hisense brand. Hisense acquired the branding and marketing rights to Sharp and Sharp Aquos TV brands late last year and will begin introducing LED LCD TVs under the trademarks for the first time in 2016.

Gagnon said “Hisense was the No. 3 brand in worldwide unit shipments in the third quarter of 2015. They were No.4 in the first and second quarters of 2015 and No. 5 in 2014, so their share has grown. In North America, Hisense was No. 6 in the third quarter, but had their highest share to date in this region. During Black Friday, a Hisense SKU was one of the models available on the 40-inch Walmart doorbuster promotion for $169, which surely contributed to a surge in their 40-inch shipments during the third quarter of 2015.”

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Hisense is one of the Chinese brands pushing for expansion in the U.S., and in other export markets outside of China, Gagnon observed.

“The acquisition of the Sharp brand near term helps to add distribution provided retailers maintain the stock-keeping-unit (SKU) counts in 2016. Much of that is going to be related to how Hisense handles the brand management of the Hisense and Sharp brands, which is unknown right now,” he said. “As a Smart TV brand, they are using a mix of their own platform as well as the Roku TV platform. In the third quarter this positioned Hisense at No. 5 in North America in Smart TV shipments. I expect them to continue with a blend of Roku TV models as well as some Android-based OS TVs in the future. The consolidation around fewer platforms seems to be a clear trend now.”

As for the continued emergence of LG’s OLED TV technology as rival manufacturers introduced 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs powered by quantum dots, special phosphor coatings and other color gamut expanding technologies: IHS’s Gagnon said: “Our full-year OLED forecast for 2015 was reduced slightly, mostly because of supply constraints, to 300K units worldwide and 60k units in North America. Next year, we forecast 1.2 million units worldwide and 260K in North America.”

2016 is also expected to be a year in which we see additional vendors entering the OLED category.

“As for wide color gamut TVs, we don’t have an official TV forecast for the full range of solutions (there are many and many different claims) but for QD, we only expect a relatively small number of QD TVs shipped in 2015. Despite the initial momentum and buzz earlier this year, it looks like QD might not be as widely adopted for wide color gamut as initially thought due to the expense,” Gagnon said.

By Greg Tarr


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