Digital TV Set to Boom

With the US analog switch-off date — the Analog Deathwatch, as we like to call it — mandated for February 2009, and most Western European countries terminating transmission before the European 2012 Analog Deathwatch deadline, the next 2 years will see a rapid increase in new digital TV households.

Just how much of an increase? A new report from market analysis firm Datamonitor has the details:

DTV will grow an average of 12% year-on-year, with particularly strong adoption in the near term as broadcasters terminate analog terrestrial television," says Chris Khouri, analyst for media and broadcasting at Datamonitor and the report’s author."In 2007 there were 158 million households using digital television services in Western Europe and the US. By 2012, Datamonitor expects there to be an estimated 274 million digital TV households in these regions."

At the end of 2007, 54% of homes in Europe and the US had some form of DTV service. This will grow to 88% by the end of 2012 primarily due to the significant increase in digital terrestrial television (DTT) households, according to the report:

DTT households in Europe and the US will increase from 26 million in 2007 to 55 million by 2012, illustrating an average yearly growth rate of 16%. As a whole, however, Datamonitor expects there to be a significant migration away from free-to-air services in the medium-to-long term, as bundled offerings (triple play, quad play etc.), enhanced features and premium content grow in importance to consumers.

Digital cable and DTT platforms will experience the largest net additions from 2007 to 2012 Over the next three years, all DTV platforms will show strong growth as consumers transition to digital services. The two fastest growing platforms in Europe and the US will be digital cable and DTT. Datamonitor expects they will achieve net household increases of 50 million and 30 million, respectively.

And here’s the bit that stokes two of our greatest obsessions — satcom and IPTV:

PTV services will show the strongest average yearly growth at around 28%, reaching almost 23 million households by 2012.

Despite satellite services illustrating very moderate growth of 5.5%, there will be a 20 million increase in subscribers by 2012, reaching around 86 million households.

The boom years lie ahead, that’s for sure.