4K TV ‘Will become the norm’ – but owners want more content

Olivia JoynerResearch Director, Qualitative Research
December 11, 2018, 3:56 PM GMT+0

With 18% of the public now owning a 4K TV, YouGov has conducted two separate online focus groups (8-10 participants per group), in order to discuss people’s views of the technology in greater depth.

One focus group featured 4K TV owners and the second featured prospective owners (those looking to buy a 4K TV in the next 12 months). Both groups contained of a mix of gender, social grade, region, working status, income, reasons for wanting a 4K TV, and the type of 4K content they are interested in.

Why are people drawn to the product … and do they like it?

Our participants perceive 4K TV to be all about great quality, crystal clear images – and see 4K as the gold standard of television graphics. This applies to prospective owners too.

  • “I think of sharp images and crystal clear details. Good range of colours and vividness” Prospective Owner, Male
  • “I agree that everything is crystal clear and that you really benefit from having a big screen”. 4K TV Owner, Female

For lovers of documentaries, sport and film, the move to 4K enables them to enjoy their favourite programmes in style.

  • “We wanted an upgrade and because we watch a lot of films and TV we thought we would get the best available” 4K TV Owner, Female

Our research also uncovered that owning a 4K TV can be something of a status symbol. It appeals to those that want the newest and best technology as soon as possible.

What is holding back greater growth of the 4K TV market?

Despite the great strides that 4K TV has made, there is obviously a great deal of possible growth in the market.

However, the 4K TV owners are often dissatisfied with the current availability of 4K content. Not being able to view standard terrestrial channels such as BBC and ITV is one specific complaint.

  • “The picture quality is stunning but that there is room for improvement on the amount of content available” 4K TV Owner, Female.

In terms of new owners, we also explored what is putting off people from purchasing. As we would expect, price is a barrier to purchase, with an acceptance that prospective buyers may have to wait for the price to drop.

  • “It's something I was interested in but I prefer to wait until they have been around for a while before buying when there is more content and the TVs have come down in price.” Prospective owner, Male

Another key concern is broadband speed, and buffering issues connected with that. Our discussions indicated that some prospective buyers worry their broadband will not be sufficient – and therefore this will negate the reason for having the TV in the first place.

What does the future hold?

According to our participants, there’s a rosy future for 4K. Consumers predict that it will soon be mainstream, and there is a belief that it is indeed the future of home entertainment.

  • “I think that even with the dawn of 8K on the horizon, 4K will rapidly grow now the prices are dropping sharply and there is more choice. TV stations will produce more 4K content and it will remain very popular for a good few years, 8K will be too expensive for a long while” Prospective Owner, Male
  • “I think they will become the norm, that is until 8K sets are readily available” 4K TV Owner, Male

That being said, there is an acknowledgement that innovation is always around the corner. This is evidenced by the belief that it may only be a matter of time before 8K enters the market.

Overall, our two focus groups pointed to a group of owners that were satisfied with their purchase, as well as one that valued the quality and technological advances 4K TVs represent. For the prospective owners, while there are some misgivings around price, there is a general thought that 4K TV represents the future of the industry. In both groups people expected 4K to become the norm.

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