Electronics Production | March 30, 2009

High-Definition Consumer Electronics shipments to triple by 2012

Global shipments of High-Definition (HD) Set-Top Boxes (STBs), camcorders, DVD players and video-game consoles are expected to triple from 2008 to 2012, as HD becomes the ubiquitous video standard worldwide, according to iSuppli.
Global shipments of HD-capable equipment in these categories will rise to 202 million units by 2012, up from 68.9 million in 2008. By 2012, 52.9 percent of STBs, camcorders, DVD players and game consoles shipped will be HD-capable, up from 21.6 percent in 2008.

The attached figure presents iSuppli’s forecast of global unit shipments of HD-capable consumer-electronics equipment.

Consumer electronics and the holy grail
“For the last 20 years, HD video has been the holy grail for consumer electronics OEMs, as well as for avid home theater fans around the world,” said Randy Lawson, senior analyst for DTV and display electronics at iSuppli.

“The high-tech industry’s efforts to provide HD service to every home now are finally coming to fruition. This has resulted in an explosion of shipments of consumer-electronics devices that support HD video, from new Blu-ray DVD players to ultra-thin LCD HD Televisions (HDTVs)—and even some portable media players.”

The amount of HD content available in some mature television markets is growing to the point that hundreds of high-definition channels now are being offered by the entire spectrum of television service providers—from cable, to satellite, to terrestrial and to even to telecom—due to the rollout of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services. The rapidly growing list of HD content suppliers, along with the fast-rising adoption rates seen for HDTVs and STBs, clearly indicates that HD video transmission and delivery are becoming major motivators for consumer adoption of newer technology television displays and playback/recording equipment.

As the broadcast TV market inexorably moves to all-digital television formats, there is more incentive for the inclusion of HD support in consumer-electronics devices.

Taking over the market
In the most of the mature television markets, a wide range of Digital Television (DTV) and HD video content options are becoming available to consumers. The North American market, one of the most mature regions for both HDTV content and HD consumer equipment, is arguably also one of the most competitive for high-definition services. With an aim to expand market share and to increase Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) levels, cable, satellite and telco service providers have been rapidly expanding their HD-content offerings. They are doing this to attract new customers, who increasingly are prone to have HD sets in their homes.

Flip the switch
A major hurdle that most regions have faced in order to commence the HD transition is freeing up frequency spectrum to allow for digital broadcasts, Lawson noted. Government mandates and additional spectrum allotments have been made to facilitate the “digital switchover” transition.

“Slowly but steadily, the worldwide market for broadcast television is moving away from an era dominated by wide-bandwidth, less spectrum-efficient analog TV broadcasts, where a single channel occupied from 6MHz to 8MHz of frequency spectrum,” Lawson said. “In the new era of all-digital broadcasts, the same amount of bandwidth can be filled with five or more channels—which, after analog shut-off dates are reached, ultimately will deliver a ‘digital dividend’ of unused spectrum that governments can reclaim for other purposes.”

To date, pay-TV platforms have led the way in HD video service in nearly every region of the world, as the costs of implementing high-definition production and broadcasting equipment have deterred adoption by the free-to-air broadcasters. This situation should improve in the near future as HD service becomes more mainstream in maturing markets like the United States and Japan, helping to reduce the cost of equipment.


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