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Research firm forecasts threefold growth in HD consumer device shipments by 2012

HDTV is gaining strength among consumers worldwide — so much so that research firm iSuppli forecasts a threefold increase in shipments of HD-related electronics from 2008 to 2012, despite the ongoing recession.

Shipments worldwide of HD set-top boxes (STBs), camcorders, DVD players and video game consoles will triple over the period as the popularity of HDTV grows across the globe.

By 2012, iSuppli projects global shipments of HD-capable consumer equipment to reach 202 million units, 133 million more units than shipped last year. Just more than half of all STBs, camcorders, DVD players and game consoles will be HD capable by 2012, compared to 21.6 percent last year, iSuppli forecasts.

According to Randy Lawson, senior analyst for DTV and display electronics at iSuppli and author of the company’s new “High-Definition Video Broadcasts Go Global” report, the efforts of the high-tech industry to make the availability of HD ubiquitous are beginning to pay off. As a result, there has been “an explosion of shipments of consumer-electronics devices that support HD video, from new Blu-ray DVD players to ultra-thin LCD HD televisions — and even some portable media players,” he said.

Worldwide, the transition from analog to digital over-the-air broadcast is helping to lay the foundation for continued HD growth. While pay TV has led the expansion of HD availability to date around the globe, the mainstreaming of HD in mature TV markets like the United States and Japan will help to drive equipment costs down and make it more affordable for over-the-air broadcasters around the globe to begin offering their own HD services, Lawson said.