(SinoCast China IT Week via NewsEdge) Sales of set-top boxes in China reached 6 million units in the first half, even higher than the 2005 full-year sales of 4.38 million units, according to research firm Analysys.
The research firm attributed the sales increase to the fast take-up of digital TV.
From January to July, digital TV in Guangxi surpassed 1 million units. The number reached 100,000 in Yunnan , and 300,000 in Shenzhen.
The second half is expected to be even better than the first, according to Analysys, with the market seen reaching 12 million units by year's end, following digital TV-related hearings in 18 cities in China.
In the next two or three years, there will be a massive improvement in each city's network, prompting set-top box manufacturers to include features such as two-way, high-definition, and expandable functions to their products.
There are currently three types of set-top boxes: wired, satellite, and ground.
Since satellite is restricted by government policies, and the ground transmission standards have not yet come out, 90% of set-top boxes are wired. Wired boxes are also of three types: ordinary, enhancing and interactive.
The ordinary type still dominates the market, accounting for a 70% overall share. The enhancing and interactive types have cornered 16.5% and 13.5% of the market, respectively.
Industry analyst Han Ling said the set-top box market in the second half would be characterized by four general traits.
First, bolstered by government policies, market capacity will further increase and cable operators will control the main distribution channels. Second, ordinary set-top boxes will continue to dominate the market. Third, set-top box manufacturers will have a better understanding of what product or services they have to provide. Last, the market will enter a "thin-profit age" as competition increases.
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