Standard definition switch offs possible

HDTV household penetration will soon be high enough in developed countries for broadcasters and pay TV operators to consider ending their Standard Definition transmissions, according to a report from Digital TV Research.

HD-ready penetration will double from 25.9 per cent at end-2011 to 50.9 per cent in 2016. However, HD-ready penetration will be higher than 80 per cent in 18 countries by 2016.

Simon Murray, author of the report, said: “Most sets on sale in developed markets are now HD compatible, with a growing proportion also providing 3D functionality. Retail prices are falling as production reaches economies of scale, as competition increases and as consumer acceptance grows.”

More than 300 million HDTV-ready households existed at end-2011 for the 40 countries covered in the report. The US supplied 79 million of the total, followed by China (35 million) and Japan (24 million).

The HD-ready household total will more than double to 652 million by 2016. China will become the market leader, by providing 151 million homes – up by 116 million on 2011. A further 39 million will be added in India, taking its total to 51 million. There is still plenty of growth to be had in developed markets, with the US increasing by 34 million to 113 million. Other major growth contributors include Brazil (up 17 million to 23 million), Japan (up 16 million to 41 million) and Russia (up 18 million to 24 million).

Murray added: “Owning an HDTV set [HD-ready] is one thing, and watching HDTV programming [HD active] is another. There were 152 million HDTV active households at end-2011, with the US providing 39 million and China 17 million.”

Other findings from the study:
– There will be nearly 500 million HD active households by 2016, more than triple the 2011 figure. Average HD active household penetration will more than triple from 12.8 per cent in 2011 to 38.7 per cent in 2016. HD active penetration will exceed two-thirds of TV households in six countries in 2016.

– There were 13 million 3DTV-ready homes by end-2011, with the US supplying 35 per cent of the total. There will be nearly 150 million 3D-ready households by 2016; more than 10 times the 2011 figure. The US will provide 42 million of the 2016 total, followed by China (22 million), Japan (10 million) and the UK (9 million).

– Average 3D-ready penetration will rise tenfold between 2011 and 2016, though it will still only be 11.7 per cent in 2016. 3D-ready penetration will exceed a third of TV households in three countries (Australia, the UK and the US) in 2016.

— There were only 2 million 3DTV active households at end-2011, although this was four times the 2010 total. The US accounted for two-thirds of the 2011 total. The global total will rocket to 42 million by 2016. The contribution from the US will have fallen to 47 per cent of the total – or 20 million subscribers. China will take second place with 4.3 million, followed by the UK (2.7 million) and Japan (2.0 million).

– Average 3D active penetration will reach 3.3 per cent by 2016; low but well up on the humble 0.2 per cent recorded at end-2011. The US was the only country with more than 1 per cent penetration by end-2011. The highest penetration by 2016 will be in the US (16.4 per cent), with second place going to the UK (9.9 per cent).

– There were 183 million DVR households at end-2011. Sales are climbing rapidly, with 419 million DVR homes expected in 2016 – well over double the 2011 figure. The US (82 million, up by 33 million since 2011) will lose its top slot to China (88 million, up by 70 million) in 2016.

– Furthermore, 15.4 per cent of TV households had at least one DVR at end-2011, with six countries already crossing the 40 per cent penetration threshold. By 2016, global penetration will have more than doubled to 32.7 per cent. 19 countries will have crossed the 50 per cent mark, with Finland and Canada leading at 70 per cent penetration.

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