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Tech advances, 5G speed stoke growth in 8K content

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-18 10:14

Samsung's QLED 8K television is displayed at the Appliance and Electronics World Expo (AWE) held in Shanghai. [Photo by Chen Yuyu/For China Daily]

"With the commercial application of 5G and the application of ultrahigh definition display technologies, China's ultrahigh definition terminal industry is expected to usher in a golden period of development," said Li Dongsheng, founder and chairman of Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL.

Li spoke at the 2021 World UHD Video Industrial Development Conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in May. The penetration rate of the 8K TV market is forecast to rise from 0.5 percent in 2021 to 7 percent in 2025 as consumer demand for UHD videos rises, he said.

More efforts should be made, Li suggested, to strengthen research and expand the application scenarios of UHD technologies, accelerate breakthroughs in key and core components-such as high-performance memory chips and image sensors, and new display material-and boost innovation in UHD video business models.

TCL began its rollout in the 8K TV market in 2018 and has invested heavily in cutting-edge display technologies such as quantum dot and mini light-emitting diodes, which incorporate tiny crystal semiconductor particles for better brightness and color, conducive to creating excellent image quality for 8K TVs.

"The deep integration of UHD videos, 5G, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other new generation information technologies brings about a large number of new scenarios, applications and models, which have become an important driving force for commercial use of 5G," said Zhang Li, director of the China Center for Information Industry Development.

Chinese home appliance giant Konka Group Co Ltd has concentrated its innovation efforts on cutting-edge technologies, such as 5G, 8K UHD and the internet of things, powered by artificial intelligence, as part of a broader push to propel the development of the semiconductor display industry. The IoT refers to a network of devices that contain software or sensors that allow them to exchange data.

In 2019, the company unveiled the 8K chips it developed. It showcased televisions using cutting-edge micro LED technology, which supports 8K resolution, during the Appliance and Electronics World Expo in Shanghai in March.

In addition, Konka, and Migu Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China Mobile that provides digital content and services, have formed a strategic partnership to jointly build a 5G UHD laboratory to bolster the development of the UHD video industry.

The partners' intention is to carry out research and exploration in the field of 5G, 4K, micro light-emitting diodes and 8K UHD display technologies, and roll out innovative products for individuals, families, healthcare, culture, education, entertainment and sports.

"The deployment of 5G technology will make the transmission of 8K content possible and boost the development of the internet-of-things industry," said Peng Jianfeng, deputy secretary-general of the China Video Industry Association.

Domestic TV sales reached 17.81 million units in the first half of 2021, down 14.7 percent compared with the same period in 2020, while the corresponding sales revenue stood at 59.4 billion yuan, an increase of 15.1 percent year-on-year, according to AVC.

Despite 8K TVs still being quite expensive, a report released by global consulting group Deloitte said more than 1 million 8K TV units were forecast to be sold globally in 2021.

Even though 8K TVs make up a small percentage of the total number of new TVs sold, 8K models were projected to garner more than $3.3 billion in global revenue in 2021, according to the consultancy.

While the average 8K TV retail price was seven times that of the average TV, Deloitte predicted that 8K TV prices might soon fall to $1,500. In the premium TV segment, the proportion of 8K TVs is increasing across the globe.

At present, more efforts should be made to further improve 8K video content and optimize the production process, said Sun Jian, an analyst at the TV department of Beijing-based market research organization Sigmaintell Consulting. Sun added that the industrial chain for 8K hardware and software is not yet mature.

Sun said 8K TVs are high-end flagship products, and shipments are limited in the Chinese market. With the decline of production costs and ongoing improvements in 8K content, shipments of 8K TVs are expected to grow.

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