There are high expectations for the digital television (DTV) set market, according to Scottsdale, AZ, U.S.-based analyst firm In-Stat/MDR.
With visible results from the FCC mandate on integrating digital tuners in the U.S., increasing numbers of terrestrial broadcasters in Europe going digital, and the price differential between an analog and digital set coming down to a reasonable level, one can expect great things from this market, the firm reports. As a result, In-Stat/MDR forecasts that DTV set unit shipments will reach 93 million units in 2008, up from 17 million units in 2004. Unit shipments will be spread worldwide, with Asia being the largest of the DTV set markets, it said.
According to Michelle Abraham, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR, "There are two important trends in the TV set market today. CRTs are being replaced with flat panels and microdisplays in direct view and rear projection TVs (RPTVs). Digital tuners are being integrated alongside analog tuners in large TV set markets like North America, Europe and Japan."
Ms. Abraham believes that these two trends are opportunities for many companies that are not traditional suppliers of TV sets, like PC manufacturers, to enter the market. They are also creating opportunities for traditional TV set manufacturers to expand and target new markets.
In-Stat/MDR has also found the following in its research:
While the U.S. TV set market will convert to digital because the FCC has mandated it do so, the path to digital is less certain in Europe and Asia. Consumer demand rather than manufacturer supply will be the deciding factor. Eventually, consumer demand will be great enough that manufacturers will stop making analog-only TV sets.
As TV sets move from analog to digital, there are a few new features being integrated into sets in addition to flat panels displays and digital tuners. Connectivity is expanding beyond the traditional analog inputs. Many sets are appearing with DVI or HDMI and 1394 in the North American and Asian markets. The ability to connect sets to a home network will increasingly become popular in countries with high broadband penetration, enabling the download of EPG data, viewing of PC content, and surfing the Web on the sets.
In Europe, the price differential between analog widescreen TVs and idTVs is declining to less than the price of a set-top box. In markets where digital terrestrial boxes are not subsidized, consumers will be more likely to replace their analog set with a digital one.
DTV monitors, particularly flat panel TVs, are selling well in countries without digital terrestrial broadcasting such as China.
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