Worldwide HDTV unit shipments to exceed 240 million by 2012

In 2008, HDTVs overtook SDTVs as the leading TVs shipped globally, and despite economic worries, the sales show no signs of slowing in the next five years, according to market research firm iSuppli.

According to a forecast released in October from iSuppli, HDTV unit shipments will grow to 241.2 million by 2012, up from 97.1 million units in 2007. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent.

By comparison, non-HDTV unit shipments will decline to 23.1 million units by 2012, decreasing at a CAGR of 27 percent, down from 114.8 million units in 2007, according to the research firm.

When it comes to set-top boxes, the global popularity of HD will have an impact as well. Currently, HD STBs represent less than 20 percent of the overall STB market globally. However, growing at a CAGR of 36 percent, HD STBs will represent 50 percent of the overall STB market by 2012, according to iSuppli.

Two factors are spurring HD STB growth: the expanding availability of HD content and a drop in the cost to process HD streams. While MPEG-4/H.264 codecs are inherently more complex than MPEG 2 — and thus more costly to implement — the cost difference is gradually becoming smaller with each new generation of silicon. The same can be said for the HD interfaces, such as HDMI, which has generally become the standard for HD interfaces globally.

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