China Set-top Box Shipments Post Significant Increase in 2009

Friday, May 7th, 2010
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…but Decline in 2010

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Set-top box (STB) shipments in China increased sharply in 2009 in line with the country’s higher consumption of LCD-TVs, according to iSuppli Corp.

China’s overall STB shipments amounted to 160.5 million units in 2009, up a sizable 30 percent from 123.4 million in 2008. The strong numbers attest to the primacy of China as the world’s largest STB manufacturer as well as a leading STB design center, iSuppli figures show.

Nonetheless, STB shipments in 2010 are projected to fall approximately 10 percent in 2010 to 144.2 million, mainly because of a rapid decline in the domestic ABS-S market–China’s homegrown satellite broadcasting system–as well as to a drop in the export shipments of terrestrial set-top boxes–a class of STB devices intended for use with analog televisions.

The decline of export shipments coincides not only with the analog-to-digital turnover in the United States in June 2009, signaling the end of U.S. analog TV broadcasts, but also with the transition to digital television continuing toward various degrees of completion all over the world.

The drop in terrestrial set-top box shipments will dent overall STB numbers for this year and the next, according to iSuppli data, but shipments will start recovering in 2012 after losses in the terrestrial segment are offset by consistent gains in the cable and satellite STB sectors.

Strong STB and LCD-TV Growth are Linked

“The strong performance of the China STB market can be directly correlated to the hearty consumption of LCD-TVs in the country,” said Vincent Gu, senior analyst for China research at iSuppli. “Despite the economic crisis, China’s LCD-TV market amounted to 29 million units in 2009, up a hefty 124 percent from 13 million in 2008, and will reach 39 million units this year. At least three factors are credited with driving the boom in the Chinese STB and digital TV markets, including government policies promoting the sale of home appliances in the rural areas, the government’s purchase of LCD panels in order to boost domestic capacity and help reduce market prices by creating economies of scale; and the anticipated nationwide switch from analog.”

More: China’s DTV and D-STB Market Flourish as Domestic LCD-TV and ABS-S Consumption Expand