More than 46 million homes in 25 Chinese cities have converted from analog to digital cable, according to the IMS Research study, The Worldwide Market for High-Definition TV Equipment & Services. The report reveals that while the satellite platform is expected to serve the majority of HDTV households in the Asia Pacific region, the cable segment in China is expected to be the dominant digital platform for the country by the end of 2009, passing 69 million households at that time. IMS Research forecasts that 3.2 million of the digital cable households will have the capability of viewing HDTV programming by the end of 2013.
Shane Walker, research analyst and author of the study, states, "the main driver behind adoption of HD programming and HDTV products in the Asia-Pacific region has been Japan’s strategy of introducing HD via satellite and then following with digital terrestrial. At the end of 2007, Japan accounted for over 12 million HDTV households, 90% of total HD households in the region. However, many operators and broadcasters in China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan have either launched HDTV service or have a launch planned during the next year.” The report says that two principle factors holding back many Asia Pacific operators from offering new HD services at this time are the lack of localized HD programming and prohibitively high cost of consumer equipment.
Due to slow digital terrestrial uptake, the report says that China’s growth potential for HDTV viewership rests heavily upon the cable TV market due to its size. China’s State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has been strongly promoting the concept of a national digital cable network, striving to digitize all cable networks by 2015. According to the latest figures from SARFT, the transition is behind schedule by two years. Formerly a strictly analog cable pay-TV market, the Government push has helped to speed cable digitization.
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