HDTV: A Global Analysis, a new research report from Informa Telecoms & Media, forecasts that there will be 151 million HDTV homes worldwide by the end of 2011 - more than three times the number at the end of 2006.
Adam Thomas, the report's author, said: "The public has really taken to high definition, attracted by falling prices for impressive looking sets. But the problem remains that once people get these sets home from the showroom, they can be disappointed with the results. First they have to subscribe to a content service and even then there can be relatively little to watch."
At end-2006 the US had 27.7 million HDTV homes, giving it a 58% global share, followed by Japan with a 20% share. With a near 80% of the market between them, the two represent by far the most dominant forces in the global HD market.
Significantly, of the 48.2 million HD households at end-2006, just 16.4 million had the necessary set-top box (or integrated HDTV set) to enable content to be viewed. i.e. they are actually viewing HD content, rather than simply having the potential to do so. This means that only a third of homes with an HDTV set are receiving HD content. By 2011, Informa expects HD programming to be much more readily available, and some 70% of HDTV set homes will be receiving content - or 105 million homes.
According to Simon Dyson, senior media analyst at Informa, and the report's co-author: "There is some evidence that in the US, Japan and Australia the case for HDTV has been strengthened by regulation. Broadcasters have, for example, been set targets for delivering a quota of programming in HD. If the scarcity of content in other markets continues for much longer, that option must be seriously considered elsewhere."
The 100-page report HDTV: A Global Analysis is published by Informa Telecoms & Media, which produces several media business publications, including the TV International and New Media Markets newsletters.