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Digital Terrestrial Television Demand Peaks

Annual shipment trends for Digital Terrestrial Television-enabled Set Top Boxes will be uneven over the next several years as the timing of digital switchover and DTT service availability varies dramatically from country to country, according to a recent study by ABI Research.

A decline in Western Europe will come as the result of an earlier switchover to digital in most countries, along with the need for consumers with analog TVs receiving Over-the-Air (OTA) signals to obtain DTT STBs or to join pay-TV services.

The peak in North America in 2009 is related to the timing of the digital switchover, and highlights the need for those with free OTA service on analog TVs to convert to digital television broadcast reception.

"The spike in 2009 reflects a jump in North America and continued growth in Eastern Europe and the Middle East & Africa region," says Stan Schatt, ABI Research vice president and research director. "After a subsequent decline, annual shipments again will increase in 2012, as the decline in annual DTT STB shipments stabilizes and annual shipments of IP STBs with DTT capabilities continue to grow."

In 2007, there is already strong market growth in Western Europe, particularly for relay stations. Asia-Pacific is picking up as well with DTT headend deployments, as telecom operators seek to partner with DTT service providers to enhance telco TV services which are not permitted to include broadcast channels.

Additionally, the slight up-tick in 2012 for Asia-Pacific reflects the start of DTT traction in China, and the steadying of shipments in Western Europe is a sign of the use of DTT in IP STBs offsetting declines in standalone DTT STBs.

"The timing of DTT rollouts will depend, in part, on digital switchover dates as well as the interest of telecom operators -- many of whom applied for licenses to be official DTT operators -- in order to develop DTT systems to integrate into telco TV services," adds Schatt.

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