ATSC Converter Box Demand in US Drives Growth of Taiwan's Digital Terrestrial STB Industry in 2008

Thursday, August 7th, 2008
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According to MIC (Market Intelligence Center, Taiwan), an ICT industry research institute based in Taipei, benefiting from the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) converter box demand in the United States, the Taiwanese digital terrestrial STB (Set Top Box) industry’s shipment volume is estimated at 1.27 million units in the first half of 2008, up 56% compared to the same period last year. The Taiwanese industry’s shipment value in the first half of the year is estimated at US$42.80 million, up 47.6% compared to the same period last year.

With the global economy experiencing a downturn, many consumer electronics products are facing a slowdown in growth. However, worldwide digital terrestrial STB shipment is growing, mainly due to the aggressive policy of the US government to push digital switchover. In the 2008-2009 period, the US NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) is offering US$40 coupons to subsidize consumers’ purchases of ATSC converter boxes. In this way the US government aims to increase the readiness for digital television reception.

According to MIC Senior Industry Analyst Chris Hung, “the ATSC converter box in the United States has become one of the main drivers for digital terrestrial TV STB shipment. In other regions the DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial) market has slowed down.”

As some Taiwanese makers continue to increase shipments for the US ATSC converter box program, the Taiwanese digital terrestrial STB industry’s shipment volume is expected to reach 3.59 million units in the second half of 2008, compared to 1.43 million units in the same period last year. Full-year shipment is forecasted to reach 4.86 million units, double the amount shipped in 2007.

Regarding the long-term development of the Taiwanese digital terrestrial STB industry, future shipment growth opportunities will be in emerging markets such as Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, Eastern Europe, Russia, and China. Mr. Hung stated that “as these emerging markets feature large TV populations and low penetration rates of digital TV services, they will have large-scale digital STB demand in the long-term future. The markets in advanced nations will gradually mature in the future, and emerging markets will become the major sources of growth for the worldwide STB market. These emerging markets will thus be a focus area of STB makers.”