lack of high definition broadcasts hinder DTV market

Paul Boughton

The government mandates are in force, the products are in the stores, the consumers are starting to buy: Everything seems to have fallen in place for the digital television (DTV) market -- everything but adequate availability of high-definition (HD) broadcasts, that is.

Countries across the globe have set deadlines to implement the switch to full DTV services.
DTV products are increasingly available in a variety of display technologies, providing consumers with a vast array of options at steadily decreasing prices.
In the United States, a total of 1491 television stations in 211 markets are broadcasting digital signals.
However, a majority of consumers in the United States receive digital content through subscription services from satellite or cable providers. Although this programming arrives via a digital cable or digital satellite signal, it doesn't mean it is in HD format, that is a minimum resolution of 720 lines with progressive scan, or 1080 lines with interlaced scan.
Most of the digital content available today comes in Standard-Definition (SD) format, which is lower resolution than the high-definition formats.
Although SD picture quality is much better than the conventional analog NTSC format, increased availability of HD content is necessary for a larger number of consumers to justify spending money on expensive digital television sets.
Concerns among content providers are limiting the amount of HD programming that is being broadcasted, inhibiting greater consumer purchasing of DTV sets, iSuppli Corp believes.
However, increasing awareness of content piracy as well as the implementation of digital right management (DRM) will address the content-providers' concerns.
As the content challenges are resolved and the amount of HD broadcasting increases, iSuppli expects rising consumer adoption of DTV sets.
Global shipments of DTV sets will rise to 127.3 million units in 2009, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 41.8 per cent from 22.2 million in 2004, iSuppli predicts.

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