uhd tvThe next evolutionary step in high-definition, digital television is under way, as ultra high-definition (UHD) TV sets are poised for rapid adoption in U.S. households, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics titled “Ultra High-Definition TV Displays: Global Market Forecast: 2012-2020.”

Strategy Analytics’ UHD TV forecast calls for the sets to be present in one-third (33 percent) of U.S. households by 2020, up from less than 10 percent for the next four years.

Globally, UHD TV display shipments totaled 1.7 million units in 2013, up from just 72,000 in 2012. Domestic demand in China accounted for the bulk of UHD TVs shipped last year, though there were indications toward the end of 2013 that sales momentum was building in North America and Western Europe, according to the market research company.

“Demand for UHD TVs is exceeding previous expectations and current adoption rates are similar to those of 1080p TVs back in the mid-2000s when sales penetration hit around 5 percent of total flat panel demand by the end of year 3 of 1080p sales,” commented David Watkins, Strategy Analytics’ director for Connected Home Devices. “By the end of the decade, UHD will become standard in screen sizes larger than 40-inches although sub 40-inch sets will remain mostly within the realm of 1080p.”

Added Connected Home Devices analyst Eric Smith, “Despite the limited availability of UHD content, early adopters of UHD TVs are being attracted by vendor promises of improved picture quality. TV manufacturers are working to perfect the upscaling engines of their sets and will look to put a strong marketing focus on the merits of upconverting1080p to UHD content until the dam breaks on UHD content and broadcast services begin.”

Other key takeaways of the report include:

  • UHD TV shipments will account for 41 percent of global flat panel TV units in 2020, up from just 4 percent in 2014.
  • The USA will overtake China in 2020 to become the leading country in terms of UHD TV household penetration. By region, UHD household penetration will reach 32 per cent in North America, 22 percent in Western Europe and 18 percent in Asia Pacific by 2020.
  • Entry level prices for UHD TVs will drop below $2,000 before the end of 2014 from one or more of the major global TV brands (Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic).
  • Brand share rankings for UHD TV will begin to mirror those of the overall flat panel TV market with Samsung, LG, and Sony dominating global sales volumes outside of China.

Image courtesy of flickr user Samsung Tomorrow.