Direct Broadcast Satellite Set-Top Box Market Full Steam Ahead

Recently, Cahners In-Stat Group released their forecasts of annual growth rates for digital direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) systems, which they claim will be in excess of 10% through 2003. Shipments are expected to exceed 30 million units by that time.

Cahners says that, as the digital DBS market matures, North America's share of the worldwide total will drop from 47% in 1998 to 26% in 2003. The high-tech market research firm also projects that the regions labeled Eastern Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World will increase their shares of the total during the forecast period.

Cahners' Michelle Abraham states, "We believe that the digital DBS set-top box market will remain larger than that of digital cable for the next few years. At the forecasted volumes, semiconductor suppliers will switch from designing a back-end solution for all video-receiving boxes to designing a specific solution for the DBS box market."

According to Cahners, there are several reasons that this market will continue to grow: New digital DBS service platforms will be launched in areas that are currently unserved; analog platforms are being converted to digital, with more to come; PrimeStar's former customers will need new set-top boxes as they convert to DirecTV subscribers; and a substantial number of customers will upgrade their box or purchase a second box for their home.