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Ultra-High Definition TVs Increase Demand For Glass Along With Pixels

Ultra-High Definition TVs Increase Demand

November 2014
Today’s hottest trend in televisions -- the affordably priced ultra-high-definition TV -- means excellent news for Corning.

The company’s Display Technologies segment estimated that during 2013, consumers around the world bought about 1.6 million UHD TVs -- sometimes known as 4K TVs. For 2014, Corning estimates that this number is likely to shoot past 10 million.

It’s still a relatively small piece of the total 208 million TVs sold worldwide. But the UHD segment’s rapid growth -- plus the fact that nearly all the UHD screen sizes are 50 inches or larger, consuming plenty of glass -- has Corning display leaders feeling upbeat.

The appeal of the UHD TV screen lies in the stunning sharpness of its image.

While today’s typical high-definition TV has a much more crisp image than its predecessors,  Corning display experts believe there’s still lots of room for resolution improvement – which means laying down more pixels (literally, “picture elements”) in the delicate circuitry sandwiched between two sheets of LCD glass.

A typical high-end smartphone, for instance, has a resolution of around 326 pixels per inch. A large-screen device like a television might market its resolution not by pixels per inch, but by the number of pixel rows and columns across the face of the device -- 1920 by 1080. And on a 55-inch screen, the pixels per inch can drop to as low as 80 -- accounting for the fuzzy visual experience if viewing the TV in a smaller room.

Consumers, though, are starting to expect the same sharp viewing experience on their televisions that they already have on their high-resolution phones and tablets. Another factor for UHD TV, is the changing landscape for television content. Popular shows from Internet-streaming content providers like Netflix and Amazon are already available in UHD formats. 

This strong consumer appetite for better quality is always fuel for innovation in the electronics industry.