This generation's evolution toward better picture quality in the living room began with HD, including 720p and 1,080p. New technologies were introduced to improve or enhance that experience, including 3D, which failed to take off. Then it was all about Ultra HD, and 4K, along with HDR. And now, 8K is the next big story.
While 8K is merely an aspiration now for most - 4K TVs still haven't really become mainstream - Strategy Anaytics predicts that 8K will be found in 56 million homes around the world in just six short years.
The research firm's Connected Home Devices report says that the U.S. will be the most successful market for 8K TVs, which offer four times the resolution of 4K, with 8% of American households owning an 8K TV by 2025. By the end of this year, the report forecasts that global sales of 8K TVs will reach 0.5 million units.
But Strategy Analytics believes that, despite this impressive anticipated growth, 8K TVs will struggle to gain foothold in most other regions. And the company suggests that while 8K TV will go great news for TV vendors, it will be less meaningful for the content industry.
Additionally, the report found that annual sales of 8K TVs will reach 31 million units worldwide by 2025, worth US$35 billion in retail revenues. China will see the highest volumes for 8K TV through 2025 as domestic vendors are quick to adopt 8K resolutions for their large screen ranges. Sales of 8K TVs will be concentrated in the 60-inch and above screen size categories, which will account for more than 70% of 8K TV demand.
"8K TV is likely to attract a lot of attention this year," says David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics. "TV manufacturers and video technology vendors are all keen to promote the idea that 8K is a logical and inevitable upgrade to today's 4K. This makes sense, up to a point, and 8K will achieve a foothold in the market where demand for the largest screen sizes is strong."
Michael Goodman, Director, TV & Media Strategies, adds: "The availability of true 8K content is going to remain extremely restricted for some years. Many content providers and distributors are still migrating to 4K from basic HD and will see little justification in investing in 8K when so few viewers will see any benefit for many years. Instead, they should focus on other important image enhancement technologies such as HDR (high dynamic range) and HFR (high frame rate)."
Boasting 8K resolution, Sony's upcoming 98" Master Series Z9G LCD, shown here at CES in Las Vegas in January, is a sight to behold.