International programming market MIPTV, running in Cannes this week, heard speakers say they anticipated rapid growth in the number of 4K/Ultra-HD channels launched in 2014. Conference delegates in the Sony 4K Theatre were told that Japan already has two full-time 4K channels from SkyPerfecTV and other full-service transmissions from public broadcaster NHK are due to start shortly.
NHK’s Shinichi Nagano (deputy head/Programming) showed delegates an impressive show-reel of spectacular footage including 8K down-converted (to 4K) material from the Rio ‘Mardi Gras’ carnival parade.
Japan’s Cable & Telecommunications Association also showcased their 4K output.
Delegates were given the latest display sales numbers from analysts GfK, who confirmed that consumers were still buying 4K TV sets in considerable volumes. Sales for the 12 months to January were 298,000 for the UK, 294,000 for Germany and 290,000 for France. Sales for February were on average down “because there was little inventory left, with retailers holding back on stock in readiness for new model deliveries announced at CES in January,” said GfK.
Nevertheless, this still suggested that each of the three major European markets were likely to see sales for 2015 around the 600,000-700,000 units, and perhaps much more.
GfK’s data showed that retail prices for the average 50” display rose slightly in January from £1031 to £1131.