During a pre-CES briefing today, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association, said he "wouldn't be surprised to see 75 UHDTV announcements" this week. That number could be as high as 150, including hardware rollouts, distribution deals and more, as manufacturers and programmers begin "coming together to figure out what that's about," he said.
While DuBravac said it will be a while before most people upgrade to UHD, he pointed out that, according to CEA research, close to 500,000 UHDTVs will be sold this year, up from just 60,000 in 2013. By 2017, that number could leap to almost 3 million, as consumers upgrade HDTVs purchased in the last decade.
DuBravac is also bullish on 3D printers, and said that about 7,000 square feet of exhibit space will be devoted to the devices at CES this year, and that 99,000 units will be sold worldwide in 2014. Wearable technology is also expected to grow dramatically (as you may have heard), with worldwide smartwatch sales hitting about 1.5 million this year, and ratcheting up to about 4 million by 2017.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, growth in UHDTV is expected to follow a pattern similar to other new technologies, according to DuBravac, with slow early adoption followed by more rapid growth. He compared it to the 3D TV market, which he said experienced 100 percent growth last year. "3D TV has done really well," he said. "We've just stopped talking about it." He did point out, however, that most people aren't necessarily buying 3D sets for their 3D functionality. As a feature on higher-end and mid-range TVs, "consumers are adopting it by default."