India: Rapid Migration to LCD, Despite Lack of HD

The flat-panel TV market outlook in India is "promising" with the region accounting for nearly one-third of all Asia Pacific LCD shipments by 2013, according to a new survey by DisplaySearch. This, despite the fact that the world's second most populated country has not yet begun digital broadcasting, not to mention any form of HD services.

Yet a growing middle class — coupled with a low penetration of flat panel TVs — will fuel the transition from CRT to LCD, with the latter technology overtaking CRTs by 2012. DisplaySearch estimates India has about 230 million households, but only half of them have TV sets.

Indrajit Ghosh, the chief analyst for the DisplaySearch India report, told HD Notebook this week the first terrestrial digital broadcast trial run in India is not expected until October 2010 with the opening of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"What the world perceives as digital broadcasting is not the same in India. Here it is mainly perceived as DTH and IPTV broadcasting [although IPTV does not exist]. DTH has a penetration of about 10 percent….The majority is analog cable, while digital cable penetration is one percent as of now," he said. "Unfortunately there is no HD transmission [yet]." But Ghosh said about 12 percent of LCD sales in India represent homes that are capable of receiving HD signals, when they begin.

"Terrestrial broadcasting is the domain of government, and a policy has yet to be formalized as to whether the government will do it alone or in partnership with private players. The road map is not clear, and so the change over from analog to digital transmission is not likely to happen soon," Ghosh said.

India adopted the DVB-T standard in 1999.