DTV, IPTV growth set to boost Flat Panel Display, STB, chipsets industries

MUMBAI: The anticipated growth of digital television (DTV) and high-definition television (HDTV) globally is expected to positively influence the development of a range of support industries.

A study by Frost and Sullivan Global Advances in Digital TV and HDTV Chipsets notes that these support industries include those of flat panel displays, broadcasting, telecommunications, chipset design and production, set-top box manufacturing, and software or middleware development.

The flat panel display industry, in particular, has recorded huge revenue growth since the launch of DTV and HDTV services. Moreover, emerging display technologies such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) and field emission displays (FED) are being seen as a challenge to the market dominance of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and with the recent advances in manufacturing techniques, the future for both OLED and FED look promising.

With regard to the set-top box (STB) technology, new STB chipsets are steered toward the direction of providing a single-chip solution. The introduction of advanced compression standards such as Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG)-4 AVC has highly enhanced the video streaming capability of the high-end STBs, and future STBs will have more programmability and advanced functions such as a personal digital recorder. Future chipset designs are likely to focus on the convergence of TV and computer networks and the concept of a multimedia home platform (MHP).

Technical Insights research analyst Dr. Jayson Koh notes, "Determined to lead the broadcast technologies, the Information Society Technologies (IST) and European Union (EU) have been funding numerous projects in the field of digital and high-definition television, driving the European companies and universities in this area.

"While countries such as Greece are laying infrastructures for the digital switch over, terrestrial DTV services are already well developed in Germany and France, and Britain has also recently introduced many DTV and IPTV services."

The report further notes that in Asia, South Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese companies are leading the flat panel display industries, catering to the increasing demands for LCD and plasma discharge panel (PDP) TV from Europe, North America and notably, China. Also there have been a significant number of IPTV and DTV deployments in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore and South Korea.

The Challenges: Amidst these positive trends, the high entry barrier and the lack of cost- effective techniques for mass production are the most critical issues that the new companies and technologies in the flat panel display industryface. Other obstacles that add to the entry barrier include, competing with the low average selling price of LCD, high cost of investment, lack of customer awareness, availability of raw materials and components suppliers and the distribution networks.

"The prolonged format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray is expected to delay the integration of new DVD standard in high-end STBs and manufacturers would prefer to wait till a common format arises.

"In the case of new video compression standard, the H.264 would slowly take over the MPEG-2 market but face competition from both AVS and VC-1," adds Koh.

In the near term, STB manufacturers have to decide whether to support a certain new generation DVD format or to provide a multiple format drive. Although chipset companies are providing more multiple video compression supports in their products, the high licensing fee arises from this kind of chipsets may not be encouraging.

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