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Is iDTV Driving Set-Top Boxes to Extinction?
Sep 21, 2006
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IMS Research is forecasting that nearly 40 percent of TV sets shipped in 2011 will be enabled with some type of digital tuner enabling reception of digital TV without the need for a set-top box, up from an estimated 7 percent in 2005.

But will iDTV drive the set-top box into extinction? IMS predicts both products will coexist for some time, with operator-driven deployment of feature-rich set-top boxes continue in many markets where iDTVs thrive. For free-to-air satellite and DTT platforms, basic low-cost boxes will be key to enabling full transition to digital broadcasting. IMS does not foresee iDTVs becoming a true threat to set-top box suppliers in the current decade.

IMS's recent study, The Worldwide Market for Television Sets, forecasts worldwide rollout of digital TV services, as well as HDTV programming, will result in TV makers integrating digital tuners, particularly for digital terrestrial TV (DTT) reception, into TV sets.

"The strong adoption of DTT in Western Europe is already incenting some major brand suppliers to make DTT tuners a de facto standard in many flat panel display models,” said IMS Research Director Anna Hunt. “Although iDTVs supporting ATSC and DVB-T standards are likely to be most common, TV sets with built-in digital cable and digital satellite reception are also expected to penetrate more markets. Growth of the digital free-to-air satellite platform worldwide and supplier driven force such as the CableREADY initiative in the US are likely to drive additional tuner integration.”

As more suppliers integrate digital tuners into TVs, multi-platform iDTVs are also likely to become more common, as is already happening in Japan and the US, IMS said.

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