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4K LCD TV panel shipments continue to rise, driven by forces on both the supply side and the demand side. Shipments of 4K TV panels in April 2015 exceeded 3 million units for the first time, comprising 14 percent of all TV panels shipped globally during the month, according to IHS Inc.
Of all TV panels forecast to ship in 2016, one in five is forecast to be a 4K TV panels, sometimes marketed as ultra-high definition (UHD), due to the trend toward higher resolution panels in the high-end TV segment and improved production efficiency of panel makers.
"Prices for 4K TV panels continued to decline in 2014 and early this year, causing a rise in their adoption," said Linda Lin, senior analyst, IHS Technology. "Most global TV brands have now launched 4K UHD products and are introducing more 4K models to their television offerings."
When AU Optronics (AUO) introduced the first 55-inch 4K TV panels in Taiwan in 2012, fewer than 100 units were shipped each month. That same year, Innolux introduced the first 50-inch 4K TV panels; however, due to higher manufacturing costs, shipments still totaled fewer than 10,000 units per month. In 2013, panel makers managed to improve their 4K TV panel yield rates, but shipments still made up less than 2 percent of all TV panels shipped, according to recent data from the IHS Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database.
After panel makers instituted aggressive promotions in the Chinese TV market, using 4K resolution of 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels as a point of differentiation in the high-end TV market, 4K TV panel market share reached 8 percent. Red-green-blue-white (RGBW) 4K sub-pixel technology is now widely accepted in the Chinese TV market and has even begun to penetrate the global market.
“While panel makers in Taiwan initially developed and stimulated 4K TV panel production, South Korean panel makers are now leading the 4K TV panel market,” Lin said. “In fact, LG Display and Samsung Display have risen to become the largest global manufacturers of 4K displays.”