If you haven't already rushed out and bought an ultra-high-definition television, don't panic. According to Netflix, there's still plenty of time before they officially replace HD TV sets.
The format is growing in popularity and the price of sets is already starting to fall. NPD DisplaySearch's latest figures show that annual shipments of UHD TVs have already surpassed the 1 million mark (1.6 million TVs in 2013), and while demand for the sets is greatest in China (responsible for over 80 percent of the global market at the moment), interest and excitement is growing in the US and Europe, too.
A Strategy Analytics survey shows that almost two thirds of American consumers and half of Europeans are getting ready to buy their first UHD TV this year.
However, despite this growing interest, Netflix, the US-based online movie streaming company believes that the technology still has some way to go before it really does go mainstream.
Even though Netflixs is already making and broadcasting programs in 4K UHD resolution, the company has told Tech Radar that it will take another five years, i.e., until 2019, for the new format and TV sets to replace HD.
"Market researchers predict that consumers will buy a million Ultra HD 4K TVs this year and even more in subsequent years. We expect it will likely take up to 5 years before Ultra HD 4K becomes mainstream; when most of the TVs on store shelves are Ultra HD 4K," the company said.
Ultra-high definition televisions offer a pixel density and level of detail far greater than that of a high-definition television set. The TVs are sometimes referred to as 4K sets because they have four times as many pixels (i.e., 4000) horizontally than a HD TV.
TVs supporting the technology are already available from Samsung, LG and Sony, and smaller, cheaper brands, such as Polaroid are also entering the market. However, while prices are falling, there is still very little native ultra-high definition content out there for UHDTV owners to watch.