ABI research came out with a report predicting that even with limited 4K content, declining 4K prices will start the expansion of a UHD installed base via normal upgrade cycles.
Hmmmm. "normal upgrade cycles"? What is the "normal" upgrade cycle for a TV? There was a forced upgrade cycle in the US because NTSC analog format was forced over to ATSC digital format. Cable providers were tripping over themselves to move everything to digital so that they could save bandwidth space over copper to free up more lucrative space for high speed internet.
Selling TVs was a great business when the transition from the bulky, low definition CRT to the high-definition flatscreen began. Consumers were upgrading en masse and they paid premium prices to do so. However, even as TV manufacturers invested in factories to produce LCD and plasma panels, a price war broke out.
The result was a bloodbath in the industry. Sony’s TV division has lost money for eight straight years and Panasonic is now exiting the plasma TV business altogether. An attempt to convince consumers to pay premium prices for 3D TVs failed to catch on.
Before HDTV came out, how often did you replace your TV? I certainly don't believe the mass public in the US is on a 5yr TV upgrade cycle.
At any rate, ABI believes that outside of price the major selling points for UHD will over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix's 4K streaming content and Sony's Video Unlimited 4K services. Personally, I think the 4K content will shift primarily to streaming content vs. optical media. This will primarily be the same reason that consumers switched from CD's to the iPod. The difference here is that streaming is even more convenient that what the iPod offered in the fact that you never have to put the content on the device. However, diehards like us, will still want optical media to satisfy our demanding criteria of ensuring we have the video and sound that was represented on the original movie. We are kind of the "show me" types of folks that need to see this streaming stuff and validate that is matches the quality of optical disc. Unfortunately, we are in the minority.
ABI also believes that upscaling will be a selling point for UHD. They equate this to the wave of products from phones, tables and latest generation of game consoles that support 4K resolution. If I put a 4K pixel test pattern on a 4K Smartphone screen, you will NOT be able to see those pixels. However, the general public has been trained to believe that the mere mention of higher resolution equates to better product.
ABI ends with that mainstream UHD adoption could be as early as 2018.
To give their report some credence, practice director Sam Rosen said "Many consumers will have 4K panels without 4K content, or 4K game consoles without a 4K display, and will claim a superior 4K experience even though the technical merits are not quantifiable," My thoughts exactly. If there are going to be technical merits that are quantifiable, read my What's going on with the BDA and 4K? thread.