HDTV sets are now ubiquitous throughout the U.S., with high quality, low cost sets available at retail locations across the country. While good for consumers, manufacturers are now scrambling to find a way to get consumers to spend money on TV hardware more often than once every handful of years.
The jump to 4K could provide the needed boost for HDTV vendors, though 4K content is just beginning to appear, and consumers don't seem to be as enthusiastic for the technology as they were for the jump to HD. Samsung's scheme to update TV hardware with yearly upgrade kits is novel, though it too has not caught on with the wider consumer market.
These difficulties could lead to a dismal holiday sales season for TV manufacturers. Market research firm IHS today released a report predicting that U.S. shipments of flat-panel TV sets will drop 7% from 2012 shipment levels during the second half of this year. Only 20.1 million flat-panel displays are expected to ship during the period. Shipments for the year are expected to drop 9% year-over-year to just 43.1 million units shipped.
“Driven by holiday sales, the second half of the year is always critical for determining the fate of the U.S. TV market,” said Veronica Thayer, analyst for consumer electronics and technology at IHS. “However, even with TV brands offering lower prices during this year’s Black Friday than they did in 2012, sales in the second half will decelerate sharply. The U.S. television market continues to be stymied by the long-term slowdown in replacement and secondary purchases, with most U.S. homes already owning one or more flat-screen televisions.”
The estimates corroborate recent rumors in the manufacturing industry. A recent DigiTimes report holds that worldwide TV shipments during the fourth quarter of 2013 will be down year-over-year. The report's unnamed "industry sources" also state that demand for TVs in the U.S. and Europe have been "less-than-expected" this year.