TV Buyers Value Picture Quality Over Curve, 4K & OLED

Mike Wheatley

Even though today’s tellies come with all manner of smart features and gizmos – ranging from curved screen and 3D capabilities to 4K resolution and OLED technology – bolted onto them, a majority of consumers remain unimpressed when it comes to buying a new set. Instead, viewers still regard a decent picture and sound quality as the most important factors when looking for a replacement display.

TV buyer

NPD DisplaySearch’s 2014 Global TV Replacement Study notes picture quality was the single most important factor in consumers’ minds, rated at 148 (average importance being rated 100), while sound quality came in second place with a 132 rating. Television manufacturers might be mistaken for thinking this bodes well for their next-generation 4K Ultra HD TV lineups, but NPD says that’s not necessarily the case. It points out that cost and user-friendliness were rated almost as important as picture and sound quality, and so the expensive price tags on most 4K TVs means that lots of consumers are likely to ignore them.

DisplaySearch says vendors need to focus more of their efforts on educating consumers about the benefits of tech like ultra high-definition (UHD) and OLED. While both are relatively expensive now, the cost of these technologies is likely to come down in the next 2-3 years, and that could allow manufacturers to exploit this preference for superior picture quality.

Riddhi Patel, NPD’s research director for consumer insights, said:

“Given that picture quality is the most important driver, it would benefit brands to increase consumer awareness about how (4K) can improve picture quality. The same could be said for OLED as well.

To date, 4K has had minimal impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, and it’s not only the cost that’s a problem. TV makers also face a problem of long replacement cycles – around eight years in mature markets and six years in developing markets. Things aren’t helped by the fact that consumers in most countries have just completed the transition to digital broadcasts – basically, they’ve all bought new flat-screen TVs in the last few years and see no reason to replace them now, no matter how good 4K might look.

On the bright side, there’s still a fair amount of demand in developing countries. More than 30 percent of consumers in less mature markets plan to buy a TV in the next 12 months, due to flat-panel televisions’ widespread availability and falling prices.

Source: NPD DisplaySearch