Growing Consumer Interest in 4K UHD TVs and 4K UHD Streaming Media Players Indicates an Impending Shift from Early Adopter to Mass Market Audience, According to NPD

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Holiday TV sales are expected to contribute to growing consumer demand for 4K video content

As consumers make the shift to 4K capable hardware, content providers will be working to distribute 4K content, and in-home broadband speeds will become an important consideration for viewers to ensure a smooth 4K streaming experience.

With awareness and interest on the rise, this holiday season could mark the shift in the 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV consumer base from early adopter to mass market audience. According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Home Entertainment Report, 2016 has seen steadily growing consumer interest regarding 4K. In fact, 38 percent of those surveyed said they are very, or somewhat, likely to use a 4K TV in the future, an increase of five percentage points since Q1 of this year.

As the adoption of 4K technology expands, industry leaders are preparing for the impending demand for 4K content – from live TV infrastructure being developed to support the broadcast of sports in 4K, to streaming giants offering an array of 4K content. As of Q3, 87 percent of installed 4K TVs had active internet connections, demonstrating that these consumers are among those most eager to stream content. Streaming media player ownership is also on the rise and recent 4K capable device launches from Amazon, Roku and Google further signal the transition to 4K video resolution.

In Q3 2016, 32 percent of U.S. Internet homes had at least one installed streaming media player, an increase of seven million homes over the past year, fueled by the growing number of streaming TV services. While a limited number of streaming media player owners have used a 4K streamer, findings show growth in awareness, interest and usage, driven by Millennials. Over one-third of consumers are aware of 4K streaming media player availability and this number jumps to 52 percent of Millennials surveyed. Millennials are also the most eager to use these products with 39 percent of respondents stating they have interest in future usage.

“While younger consumers are watching more video on their smartphones, they are also driving consumer interest in 4K streaming on TV, as these behaviors are not mutually exclusive,” said John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, NPD Connected Intelligence. “As consumers make the shift to 4K capable hardware, content providers will be working to distribute 4K content, and in-home broadband speeds will become an important consideration for viewers to ensure a smooth 4K streaming experience.”

In order to stream 4K content consumers must have the hardware, as well as the appropriate broadband speed. To stream 4K video to TV an Internet connection speed of approximately 25Mbps or higher is recommended. According to the Connected Home Entertainment Report, approximately five million U.S. households currently have both the hardware and broadband speed required. However, the average home also has eight connected devices, which can put a strain on the network’s ability to transmit a 4K video stream. Positively, the number of U.S. households with 25Mbps or greater Internet speeds has been increasing throughout 2016.

“Content distributors with an infrastructure prepared to offer 4K UHD video streaming are poised to take advantage of the pending inflection point in the display and TV programming industries, as viewers who stream video will be the first to expect their movies and TV shows delivered in 4K resolution,” said Buffone.

Methodology
The results of the NPD Group Connected Intelligence Connected Home Survey are based on consumer panel research that reached 5,364 U.S. consumers, aged 18+ from diverse regions and demographical backgrounds. This survey was fielded from July 28 through August 15, 2016. An open source broadband speed test was embedded into the survey to capture consumer’s actual in-home broadband speeds.

About Connected Intelligence
Connected Intelligence provides competitive intelligence and insight on the rapidly evolving consumer’s connected environment. The service focuses on the three core components of the connected market: the device, the broadband access that provides the connectivity and the content that drives consumer behavior. These three pillars of the connected ecosystem are analyzed through a comprehensive review of what is available, adopted, and consumed by the customer, as well as reviewing how the market will evolve over time and what the various vendors can do to best position themselves in this evolving market. For more information: http://www.connected-intelligence.com.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com and npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

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Megan Scott
The NPD Group
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