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HD positioned for sustained growth worldwide

Three critical factors to successful migration to HDTV worldwide have been attained clearing the way for sustainable migration to HD worldwide over the long term, according to a new report from Screen Digest.

The report, "HDTV 2008: Global Uptake, Strategies and Business Models," identifies the factors as penetration of HD-ready displays, supply of HD content and HD channels and the availability of HD broadcast on a variety of TV platforms.

In Europe, over the next five years HDTV will mainly develop as a pay-TV product — and mostly a satellite product. However, after analog switch-offs in Europe are completed between 2010 and 2012 and digital free-to-air platforms are upgraded to more advanced technologies, they will end up with more bandwidth capacity and become more widely accessible.

This will kick-start the next phase of HDTV migration as HD becomes the mainstream and ultimately the standard form of free television in the middle of the next decade.
In the short term, HD broadcast offerings in Europe remains patchy, for three reasons:

  • Lack of HD on free-to-air platforms
  • Lack of local HD channels in many countries; so far pay TV operators rely mostly on U.S. HD channels
  • Lack of ambition from a number of European pay TV operators

Other key findings in the report include:

  • The penetration of HD-display televisions has reached 20 percent in Western Europe, 36 percent in North America;
  • In 2012, in developed markets, HD-readiness will stand between 75 percent and 100 percent;
  • Globally, households equipped with HD-display televisions will grow from 87 million in 2007 (9 percent of TV households) to nearly 500 million by 2012 (45 percent).

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