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Report estimates 100 million European DTV receivers by 2007

Broad acceptance of digital television services throughout Europe will push the number of digital TV devices to more than 100 million by 2007, according to a report released this summer.

The report, “Beyond the STB: new device and service opportunities” from Datamonitor, examines trends and issues that influence the digital broadcast market in Europe.

Besides traditional set-top boxes (STBs) that decode digital television signals for display on conventional sets, integrated digital TVs (IDTVs), personal video recorders (PVRs) and new STBs with enhanced capabilities will fuel the growth, the report says.

“The emphasis of the European device market is changing, moving away from the ‘standard’ functionality STBs that characterized the early development of the sector,” says Datamonitor technology analyst and report author Adrian Drozd. “The device market is now diverging – while advanced devices, including PVRs and IDTVs, are becoming more commonplace, a lower tier of basic ‘adapters’ is also emerging to meet the need for low-cost devices providing an inexpensive alternative for operators and consumers alike.”

The report, which forecasts the development of digital television receiving platforms in seven European markets, including Benelux, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Nordic nations and the United Kingdom, finds that emerging low-level, low-functionality adaptors and inexpensive STBs will largely be responsible for viewer acceptance of digital free-to-air and basic digital television services. These low-cost options also will be used to enable second and third televisions to receive digital service before analog service is switched off, while the primary home set will likely be a more sophisticated digital model. By 2007, the report estimates, more than 8 million low-cost adaptors will be in use throughout Europe –an eightfold increase over today’s level.

Other report findings include:

  • IDTV – Consumer awareness is currently minimal and higher prices impede acceptance by those who are aware of IDTV sets. However, the report projects economies of scale to leading to lower prices and greater market penetration. IDTVs will be seen by consumers as replacements for primary viewing sets.
  • PVRs – The report forecasts 14 million PVRs in Europe by the end of 2007. Pay-TV satellite service will push PVRs in an effort to enhance revenue and will drive their initial acceptance. Over the next five years, demand for cable and digital terrestrial TV will erode satellite TV’s dominance of PVR users.
  • Satellite DTV dominance – Satellite television will remain the dominant delivery vehicle for digital service. Between 2002 and 2007, the installed base of satellite devices will double.

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