HDTV: Double digit growth expected over next 5 years.

A recent study by US-based IMS Research estimates that by the end of 2010, nearly 87 million households worldwide would be capable of watching HDTV programming.

At a session on the Future of High Definition Television, it was pointed out that HDTV is becoming an important offering for cable and satellite TV providers. IMS research estimated that last year, about 20.6 million HDTV players were shipped worldwide. The double-digit growth expected in the market over the next five years will result in a forecast of nearly 60 million HDTV displays shipped by 2010.

Elaborating on the recent trends, Millette Burgos of Asia Pacific Broadcast said, "Depending on the country and the government, initiatives such as FCC's Digital Tuner mandate in the US and the HDTV broadcasting quotas in Australia and South Korea, are often the key drivers for the growth in HDTV sets."

Countries like Australia and South Korea are proving to be the key drivers for the growth in HDTV sets as they have integrated tuning capacity. While growth in HD monitors will continue in a market where pay TV operators sell or rent the HD set-top box or HD DKR as part of the HDTV service package.

Often HDTV sets would not be enabled for pay-TV platforms, but are capable of receiving only free-to-air programmes. Of course, exceptions will exist in countries like US and S Korea where cable platforms are standardizing on Cablelabs Digital Cable ready standard.

"The good news is that many of the adoption impediments of HDTV are now being eliminated," said IMS research market analyst Jack Mayo. "As HD content increases in availability, equipment costs drop and compression standards improve so we're likely to see more operators implement HDTV."