Disinterested consumers reject 8K TVs en masse

Mike Wheatley

The TV market analyst firm Omdia has reduced its sales forecasts for 8K TVs, blaming a lack of native content for consumer’s disinterest in the next-generation displays.


Omdia said 8K TVs accounted for barely 0.15% of all TV sales in 2021, or around 350,000 units worldwide. The lion’s share of 8K TV sales went to Samsung, which shipped around 227.500 such units, with most being sold in China.

8K TV sales did accelerate a bit in the runup to last Christmas, with consumers buying a combined 95,500 such models in the final three months of the year. But even so, 8K TV sales have fallen short of expectations.

Omdia said this is because consumers are still “sceptical” about 8K display technology. They have good reason to feel that way, because of the lack of any native content to watch on them and the rise of premium 4K TVs that do have lots of content to watch. As such, Omdia has slashed its forecast to say that it thinks there will be just 2.7 million households worldwide that own an 8K TV by the end of 2026.

"We see no convincing market demand of further 8K service development,” Omdia said in its latest forecast. “Even in Japan, where there is a true 8K channel (from NHK) uptake has been minimal."


The gloomy assessment for 8K comes in contrast to some more bullish predictions that were made last year. Strategy Analytics for example, last year made the astonishing claim that 8K TV sales might hit 72 million by 2025, based on its belief that prices - which are currently ridiculously high - would “inevitably fall” in the coming years.

The last aspect of that prediction may be true. Last year, TCL launched its 8K 6-Series Mini-LED QLED TVs in the U.S. with an extremely affordable price tag of just $2199 (around £1,600) for the smallest 65-inch model.

So 8K TVs are becoming more affordable but the problem is that 8K content remains extremely thin on the ground, with no sign of that changing any time soon. Right now, the only real source of 8K material of any kind is on YouTube, but most of that is just user-generated content. There’s no movies or live sports coverage in 8K to be had anywhere at this stage. What’s more, it seems unlikely there will ever be an 8K disc format.

TV manufacturers have tried to overcome this lack of content by ramping up their upscaling capabilities and through more powerful video processing. But consumers do not seem taken in by these innovations. As a result, very few see the point in paying extra for an 8K TV when there are multiple high-end 4K TVs that already offer extremely realistic pictures.

There seems to be little sign of anything changing. While BT Sport recently produced a live 8K broadcast as a test, there’s no suggestion that it will be launching an 8K channel anytime soon. Moreover, video streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have yet to show any real interest in the format.