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09.27.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Nearly 500 HDTV channels to be carried on commercial satellites by 2009

A new study predicts a major move by satellites to HDTV, with the projected major HD markets to be North America, Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

The study, conducted by Northern Sky Research (NSR), said a large part of the growth in satellite broadcast of HD programming will come from direct-to-home (DTH) service providers adding HD channels to their lineups.

While at least a few HD channels should appear in nearly every TV market in the coming years, the study found the majority of the growth will come from the most developed TV markets that have end users on the ground that can afford the expense of an HD capable TV, a digital/HD tuner, a new outdoor antenna or a cable/DTH service.

North America will lead the drive forward with somewhat less than half of the forecasted 487 HD channels to be broadcast on satellite in 2009. The next biggest market for satellite broadcast of HD content will be Japan, followed by Australia/New Zealand, Europe and South Korea. The majority of the channel growth will occur from 2006 onward as the availability of HD content improves, HD television set penetration increases, and government deadlines for conversion to digital broadcasts are achieved by the majority of broadcasters in these countries and regions.

The study said that compression of HD channels is certain to improve and is anticipated to increase from the current industry average of approximately 1.5 HD channels per 36MHz transponder to at least three HD channels per 36MHz transponder.

The study, at www.northernskyresearch.com, is called "Global Assessment of Satellite Demand: A Demand-Driven, Region-Specific Analysis of the Commercial Geostationary Satellite Transponder Market for 2003-2009."

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