Although cable continues to make digital inroads, the direct-to-home industry
will continue to outpace its competitor 'over the next several years' on that
front, said Cahners In-Stat Group, a sister company to Multichannel
Specifically, In-Stat predicted that DBS will own 95 million digital
customers by the end of 2004, well ahead of cable's 48 million.
At the end of 2000, there were 36 million digital DBS subscribers and 11.7
million digital-cable subscribers worldwide, In-Stat said in the report,
'Worldwide Digital Satellite & Cable TV Services.'
The transition to digital -- which allows service providers to offer more
channels and serves as the base point for advanced services such as interactive
television and video-on-demand -- is expected to drive more revenue for both
However, one reason why cable will continue to lag behind in that area is the
fact that digital upgrade costs remain substantial, limiting the technology to a
few wealthy countries, In-Stat senior analyst Michelle Abraham said in a press
'Digital DTH, on the other hand, is available worldwide -- either free to
air, or by subscription, or both -- except for countries where the equipment is
banned,' she continued, noting that the Asia-Pacific region is the most
promising ground for digital DTH-subscription growth, while cable will see its
greatest digital uptick in North America.