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Ultra-HD TV shipments skyrocketed last March, exceeding 1 million units worldwide

The market for 4K/Ultra-HD televisions has been slow to develop, but new data shows that the technology seems to finally be gaining momentum. Back during the month of March 2012, when 4K was still a very new format, the total number of UHD TV panel shipments for the month didn’t even exceed the 150,000 mark. However, according to a new report from IHS Technology, precisely two years later that number grew by sevenfold, reaching its highest monthly total yet for March 2014, at 1.1 million shipments.

Perhaps even more astounding is the study’s finding that just one month prior, during February 2014, the amount of 4K TVs shipped was a mediocre 384,300 units.

In a press release illuminating the study, IHS suggests a few potential reasons for the skyrocketed shipment numbers in March. IHS representatives pointed to UHD pre-stocking orders for China’s forthcoming Labor Day holiday at the beginning of May. Also a big contributor was the much-anticipated FIFA World Cup in June, for which Sony has planned a handful of 4K initiatives, including the production of the Cup’s official film footage and three full matches (including the final) in UHD.

“From the time UHD TV panels were introduced to the world for the first time in 2012, demand for these cutting-edge displays has been slow in growing, mainly because the televisions using the panels have proved prohibitively expensive,” said Linda Lin, a senior analyst for large displays at IHS. “But with the technology becoming more pervasive, coupled with increasingly aggressive marketing from panel manufacturers, UHD TV panels are starting to take off.”

Along a similar vein, research by Parks Associates released in late March suggested that UHD technology could follow a popularity/price trajectory similar to that of HDTVs over the the last 15-year period. But the data indicated that 4K could potentially undergo a faster rate of progression toward the HDTV’s level of affordability and ubiquity. While HDTVs took 15 years to fully blossom, Parks Associates’ study predicts a leaner 10-12 years for 4K.

What do you think? Are 4K/UHD displays on your wish list, or are you still hesitant? Let us know in the comments.