Cable passes DTH as leading digital TV platform

By Robert Briel

July 9, 2009

Cable operators worldwide collectively took the leading position in digital TV services away from satellite DTH platforms in 2008. While the Chinese digital cable rollout was the primary driver of this change, conversions of analogue cable subscribers to digital cable in developed nations also played a key role.

Preliminary results from IMS Research’s forthcoming 2009 study on the World Market for Set-top Boxes and iDTVs has revealed that during 2008 the mantle of being the leading digital TV platform was taken from DTH satellite by digital cable.

Stephen Froehlich, a senior analyst in IMS Research’s consumer electronics research group, said in a statement: “Digital cable began the year with 4.5 million fewer digital subscribers than DTH satellite, but then cable added 32 million new digital subscribers to DTH satellite’s 16 million. They ended 2008 with 119 million and 130 million paying digital subscribers, respectively.”

Froehlich continued, “While 57% of those new digital cable subscribers are in China, almost all of the other new digital cable subscribers are residents of developed countries who upgraded from an analogue subscription to a digital one. IMS Research expects this trend to be one of the primary drivers of the digital cable set-top box market for the foreseeable future.”