The next few years will be a critical period for the development of digital TV and digital home services in China, according to the country’s largest research body, which predicts that there is likely to be considerable R&D efforts and partnerships formed between different industry participants.
The country’s three-network project, involving the convergence of its cable, telecoms and Internet industries, will prove critical to the growth of digital TV and digital home services in the country, according to CCID Consulting.
China’s digital TV industry is estimated to have reached CNY 279.40bn (US$ 44.86bn) in 2011, up 19.9% year-on-year, with growth generated largely by the country’s cable TV and IPTV operators.
Demand for home entertainment services is expected to drive the development of China’s whole digital home industry over the next few years, says the research firm, which predicts that digital home technologies will increasingly become high-definition, wireless and energy-saving.
The number of cable TV subscribers is expected to exceed 200mn in China within the next few years, offering great potential for network operators, content providers and equipment vendors, and is “bound to attract more investment”.
In addition, under the government’s macro policy of expanding domestic demand, each digital TV operator is expected to have access to financial support from the local governments as well as policy support of network integration.
Editor’s view: The country’s three-network project is a massive deal for China’s communications and broadcasting industry: the president of the China Radio and Television Association has recently gone on record as saying that 54 cities are now making progress with it, affecting more than 300mn people.
Yet despite having already overtaken the US for the number of broadband users, and being on course to overtake France in terms of IPTV subscribers imminently, China’s digital TV and digital home industries still have considerable room for growth and maturation.
This presents a massive opportunity for local service providers and equipment vendors – and given the recent blacklisting of China’s two major telecoms equipment makers ZTE and Huawei in many Western markets, it will be interesting to see if the government takes any similar measures of its own.