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DTH leads HD boom in the SAARC region

The high-definition television (HDTV) segment in the SAARC region is expected to boom over the next three years, according to a research report published by Dataxis. The report notes that the steady increase in HDTV subscribers and the number of HDTV channels in the region, driven by the digitisation drive, could lead to robust growth in the segment.

HDTV segment, both in terms of HDTV set-Top-Box penetration and HDTV channels have witnessed steady growth in the last four quarters, with HDTV penetration in the SAARC countries reaching 4.2 million in the quarter ended March 2015, according to the Dataxis report.

According to the report, the number of HDTV broadcasts in the SAARC region in the last couple of years rose as more number of television houses launched HD channels buoyed by consumer demand for quality content.

The steady increase in HDTV penetration in the SAARC region is mainly due to India, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of the total HD subscribers in the SAARC countries — Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.–tracked in this report.

The HDTV penetration in India is driven by DTH players, who are aggressively promoting HDTV STBs in the country. Dataxis report finds that DTH operators in India have seeded about 4 million STBs in Q1 2015 compared to less than 0.3 million HD STBs seeded by the MSOs in the same period.

Although, the MSOs in the country had a slow start in seeding HD STBs, mainly due to the delay in implementing gross billing, cable operators have begun pushing HD STBs to customers in metros and other phase-2 cities where gross billing is in place. HD STB seeding by MSOs are expected to gain traction by the fourth quarter of 2015.

“DTH players are expected to lead the HDTV penetration in India for the next couple of years, however, MSOs are also expected to come on board as the demand for HDTV and UHD content is on the rise in the phase-2 cities where cable TV dominates the pay-TV market”, according to Sreeja VN, Media Analyst at Dataxis.

The number of HDTV channels broadcast in the SAARC region has increased significantly in 2014-2015. India, which had just three true HDTV channels in 2010, leads the SAARC region with 50 HDTV channels in Q1 2015, finds Dataxis report.

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