Harmonic Expects to Lead HD Encoder Market in 2009


After leading the encoding sector in 2008, Harmonic is
expecting to remain on top of that overall market -- and more specifically the
HD-encoder segment -- in 2009.

That's thanks to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's
acquisition of Scopus Video Networks, completed in March of this year.

"We expect to be even stronger this year with the
acquisition of Scopus," said Harmonic vice president of business development
and marketing communication David Price.

He cited a 2008 study of the encoder market by research firm
In-Stat (owned by Multichannel News
parent Reed Business Information) that found Harmonic encoders accounted for 28%
of the market in terms of the number of streams and that Scopus held a 9% share.
No. 2-ranked vendor Tandberg Television had a 23% market share. Motorola had 8%,
with other vendors accounting for 32%.

"If you combine the market share for us and Scopus you get
37% of the market, which is almost half as much again as our nearest
competitor," Price said.

In-Stat doesn't break down figures for the HD encoder market,
but Price said Harmonic internal figures show the company to be leading in all
types of HD encoders and more specifically for H.264 HD encoders.

"If you look just at the HD market I think we'd be well
above the 37% share we have for the overall market," Price said.

While In-Stat doesn't provide specific market share
forecasts for vendors, principal analyst Michelle Abraham said she expects
Harmonic's overall position to strengthen in 2009 as a result of the Scopus

"Scopus sold encoders as well, and we see their business as
being more additive to Harmonic's and not necessarily replacing businesses that
Harmonic had already won," she noted.

Abraham authored the Worldwide
Real-Time Broadcast MPEG Encoder Market
report from In-Stat that includes
the breakdown of the market share by vendor.

In terms of the overall encoder market, Abraham sees
continued strong growth for HD encoders, thanks to competition by cable,
satellite and telco operators to add HD channels to their lineup.

"Despite the economic conditions, we see the market holding
up pretty well because of the competitive pressures," Abraham said.

While bandwidth constraints have pushed a number of
companies to move to MPEG-4 infrastructure, she added that the MPEG-2 market
for HD encoders also remains strong, with both Tandberg and Harmonic
introducing products that can significantly reduce bandwidth requirements for
MPEG-2 HD content.

"Those products allow operators that are bandwidth
constrained to go ahead and upgrade their older SD MPEG-2 equipment to get more
HD channels on a certain amount of bandwidth," Abraham said.

Price acknowledged that economic woes and the global credit
crunch have impacted the encoder business and declined to say whether his
company's overall HD encoder sales would increase in 2009 versus 2008. He added,
though, that sales figures for the second half of 2009 should top the first
half of the year.

He also noted vibrant interest in HD MPEG-2 encoders
and noted that they are also seeing rapidly increasing demand for HD encoders
from Europe.