DTH

India leads HDTV boom on DTH in SAARC region

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NEW DELHI: India, which had just three true high-definition television (HDTV) channels in 2010, now leads in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region with 50 HDTV channels in Q1 2015.

What's more, the SAARC countries will see a boom for HDTV segment over the next three years.

According to a new research report by Dataxis, the steady increase in HDTV subscribers and the number of HDTV channels in the region, driven by the digitisation drive could lead to robust growth in the segment.

This steady increase in HDTV penetration in the SAARC region is therefore mainly due to India, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of the total HD subscribers in the SAARC countries – Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – covered in the report.

The HDTV penetration in India is primarily driven by DTH players, who are aggressively promoting HDTV set top boxes (STBs) in the country. Dataxis report finds that DTH operators in India have seeded about four million STBs in Q1-2015 as compared to less than 0.3 million HD STBs seeded by multi-system-operators (MSOs) during the same period.

HDTV segment, both in terms of HDTV STB penetration and HDTV channels have witnessed steady growth in the last four quarters, with HDTV penetration in the SAARC countries reaching 4.2 million in the quarter ended March 2015, says the new Dataxis report titled “SAARC: HDTV Market Q1-2015.”

Although, MSOs in India had a slow start in seeding HD STBs mainly due to the delay in implementing gross billing, cable operators have begun pushing HD STBs to customers in metros and other Phase II cities where gross billing is in place. HD STB seeding by MSOs is expected to gain traction by the fourth quarter of 2015.

“DTH players are expected to lead the HDTV penetration in India for the next couple of years, however, MSOs are also expected to come on board as the demand for HDTV and UHD content is on the rise in the Phase II cities where cable TV dominates the Pay-TV market,” said Dataxis media analyst Sreeja VN.

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