China, India, and US Continue to Drive 2009 Set-top Box Shipments

Thursday, August 6th, 2009 
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Shipments of digital terrestrial (DTT) and satellite (DTH) set-top boxes to China, India, and the United States accounted for more than 60% of total worldwide STB shipments in 2008, and are expected to reach 70% of worldwide shipments in 2009. Rapid expansion of the Chinese and Indian DTH platforms and analog terrestrial switch-off in the US are pushing sales of FTA satellite equipment and digital-to-analog (D/A) converter boxes.

Delay of the US’s analog terrestrial switch-off date from January to June 2009 extended the uptake period for D/A converter boxes. Americans have purchased close to 34 million boxes with the help of Government-provided coupons. New estimates put the number of active analog TVs in the US and Canada at more than 110 million, which ensures demand for new equipment will continue through Canada’s switch-off date of August 2011. DTT boxes shipped to the US will account for more than 20% of global STB shipments in 2008 and 2009.

Though demand for DTT STBs in the US will dissipate over the next 18 months, uptake of DTH services in China and India is forecast to increase through at least 2010. In 2008, China’s expansion of rural FTA DTH coverage resulted in shipments of close to 20 million new DTH STBs, accounting for more than 10% of STB shipments worldwide. In 2008, shipments of STBs for the Indian pay-DTH platform topped 6 million, or more than 3% of worldwide STB shipments. The platform is expected to account for more than 4% of STB shipments worldwide in 2009.

Such market shares should not be surprising in the context of recent growth trends, says analyst Anna Maxbauer, co-author of the recently-published IMS Research report ‘The Worldwide Market for Set-top Boxes & iDTVs: 2009 Edition’. “Growth of DTH and DTT platforms aside, Chinese, Indian, and US markets constitute a massive portion of the global STB market.” IMS Research forecasts that more than 70% of global STB shipments in 2009 will go to China, India, and the US. This is nearly an 8% increase over 2008 shipments, but shrinking demand in the US and rapid growth in emerging markets will drop China, India, and the US’s share of worldwide STB shipments to less than 50% in 2013. Growth of emerging DTV markets, particularly in Asia and Latin America, will account for a large portion of shipments, particularly of DTH and DTT STBs and iDTVs.