Slow sales of 8K TVs have continued into 2020 and a report by ABI Research ascribes it to high prices, lack of content, and the pandemic, which has on the other hand boosted game consoles.
Will 2021 be different?
The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo was supposed to be the first major event to be shot in 8K resolution, and broadcast in 8K in Japan. Some industry observers viewed it as the first major step for 8K. Then came the coronavirus.
- "There had been much anticipation of 8K TV market growth given the 8K broadcast content scheduled for Summer 2020 Olympics. However, 2020 Olympics’ postponement combined with the overall economic downturn has resulted in low 8K TV unit shipments in 2020," said Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst, ABI Research.
LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL and a couple of other major TV makers have launched 8K TVs, but as the report notes starting prices are still relatively high.
- "Although 8K TV set price points have declined from a year ago, the cost of most 8K TV sets is still relatively high ranging from $3,500 to $30,000. High cost and lack of content will delay 8K TV set adoptions. ABI Research estimates only around 1% of worldwide flat panel TV shipments will be 8K TV sets in 2021," Lynn concluded.
Last year, FlatpanelsHD outlined why you should not buy an 8K TV in 2019. While some of our concerns have been mitigated, others remain. For example, there is still no content available in 8K. Also, many 8K TVs fail to provide a meaningful upgrade in picture quality over their 4K counterparts.
Also read: 4K vs. 8K: Study finds that few viewers can see the difference
Boost to game consoles
While 8K TV sales are expected to remain sluggish in 2021, ABI Research sees upside ahead for game consoles. The firm is forecasting sales of 40 million console units in 2020, a 6% increase from 2019, with next-gen consoles to "further drive the game console market" in 2021.
Also read: An 8K disc format is unlikely. Here's why
Some had expected next-gen consoles to give 8K TVs a boost but it is now clear that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are still rooted in the 4K ecosystem. Microsoft and Sony have both almost entirely stopped promoting their new consoles as 8K capable.
The consoles may offer 8K video streaming later in their life cycle but Microsoft is cautioning that we are years away from 8K being a standard in video games.
- Source: ABI Research