Research group In-Stat is projecting that digital video
recorders capable of recording and playing back high-definition content will
account for about 75% of all unit sales around the world in 2009.
Overall, the research firm (which, like Multichannel News, is owned by Reed Business Information) expects
that the total number of standard-definition and high-definition DVRs, also known
as personal video recorders, shipped worldwide will grow to 28.1 million in
2009, up from 25.5 million in 2008, and hit 30.5 million in 2010.
"When you are talking about HD PVRs accounting for 75% of
over 28 million units, that is a very significant and notable shift," said Mike
Paxton, a principal analyst at the firm and the author of The PVR Product Market: Demand Remains Strong.
"It is not only a very large consumer-electronics category, the shift has
occurred in a relatively short period of time, which was not the case when you
think of the move from standard def to HD TV sets."
The proportion of HD DVRs being shipped in the U.S.
is likely much higher than the global figures, which are dragged down by the
relatively underdeveloped HD markets in Europe and other
regions. In-Stat doesn't provide a breakdown of shipments for SD and HD units for
the U.S. or North
America, but Paxton estimates that the proportion of HD DVR sales
in the U.S.
would be 10 to 12 percentage points higher in the worldwide figure.
The shift reflects the rapid embrace of the HD and DVR
technologies by consumers and the fact that service providers want to avoid the
cost of sending a truck to replace each SD DVRs as subscribers upgrade to HD.
"This is being driven by the pay TV operators, particularly
in North America," Paxton said. "In the past 12 months
or so, they've been basically saying don't bother to send us any standard-def.
We want only high def."
By 2013, In-Stat is predicting that there will be about 73
million DVR units installed in the U.S.
and about 60.2 million households will have one, up from 40.2 million units in
2009 that were available in 37.9 million homes.
The study also found growing consumer interest in whole-home
which have been heavily pushed by AT&T and Verizon Communications to
differentiate their video offerings from cable. Over one-quarter of the
respondents in the U.S. survey claimed to be extremely or very interested in
multi-room DVR functionality, which allows users to pause and watch the same
show on different sets around the home.
But the In-Stat survey still found that many consumers
who were interested in the technology were reluctant to pay more for it. "Twenty-nine
percent said they would like to have it but didn't want to pay anything,"
Paxton said. "Twenty-five percent said they would be willing to pay $2.50 a
month and almost three-quarters of the respondents who were interested said
they would pay $5.00 a month or less."