SD on the verge of switch off in major TV markets; 3D inches along

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 16-01-2012

HDTV household penetration is now high enough for TV operators in developed countries to consider seriously switching off SD signals, a new paper from Digital TV Research is arguing.
The analyst says in its HDTV, 3DTV and DVR Forecasts report that overall global HD-ready penetration will double from 25.9% at end the end of 2011 to 50.9% in 2016 but most notably, HD-ready penetration will be higher than 80% in 18 countries by 2016. Moreover, it calculates that more than 300 million HDTV-ready households existed at end-2011 for the 40 countries covered in the report with the US supplying 79 million of the total, followed by China (35 million) and Japan (24 million).

Commented report author Simon Murray: “Most sets on sale in developed markets are now HD compatible, with a growing proportion also providing 3D functionality. Retail prices are falling as production reaches economies of scale, as competition increases and as consumer acceptance grows.”
And Digital TV Research believes that such acceptance will see the HD-ready household total will more than double to 652 million by 2016. China will become the market leader, by providing 151 million homes – up by 116 million on 2011. A further 39 million will be added in India, taking its total to 51 million. There is still plenty of growth to be had in developed markets, with the US increasing by 34 million to 113 million. Other major growth contributors include Brazil (up 17 million to 23 million), Japan (up 16 million to 41 million) and Russia (up 18 million to 24 million).
But while having a HD TV is one thing, actually using it to access HD services is another and the analyst predicted that there will be nearly 500 million HD active households by 2016, more than triple the 2011 figure. The data suggests that average HD active household penetration will more than triple from 12.8% in 2011 to 38.7% in 2016 and that HD active penetration will exceed two-thirds of TV households in six countries in 2016.
Murray added: “Owning an HDTV set [HD-ready] is one thing, and watching HDTV programming [HD active] is another. There were 152 million HDTV active households at end-2011, with the US providing 39 million and China 17 million.”
Somewhat by way of contrast, Digital TV Research found that there was a sharp difference in terns of the likely 3D-ready penetration and that of active use.
Even though it calculated that there were only 2 million 3DTV active households at the end of 2011, four times the 2010 total, there were 13 million 3DTV-ready homes at that time. It is suggested that this will rise to 150 million households by 2016 with the US providing 42 million of the 2016 total, followed by China (22 million), Japan (10 million) and the UK (9 million). Yet the average 3D active penetration at this time will likely reach will reach 3.3% by 2016. 3D-ready penetration will likely exceed a third of TV households in three countries (Australia, the UK and the US) in 2016.
For DVR, the analyst calculated 183 million households at end-2011 with sales climbing rapidly, set to reach 419 million DVR homes by 2016.