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POV: Can HD TV take off in a big way in India?

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 30, 2010
There is a captive market of more than one million HD TV set homes waiting to be converted. Content, coupled with pricing, will prove critical in determining the future of HD TV

Recently, DishTV joined Sun and Reliance Big TV as the third high definition (HD) TV service provider in the country. Is this a sign that HD TV will become the new rage?

Vivek Couto
executive director, Media Partners Asia

HD TV has significant levels of long term potential in the Indian market. It's also critical that HD TV takes off if digital is to bring some premium value and differentiation for the customer.

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The key is to reduce capex (funds required by a company to upgrade or acquire new consumers) and consumer costs across the value chain, which comprises HD TV sets, HD set top boxes, satellite transmission capacity and content.

There is a captive market of more than one million HD TV set homes waiting to be converted. Content - IPL cricket, the Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cup and movies - will prove critical, as will pricing. However, right now, before it has the economies of scale, HD TV will be positioned as a premium service that can increase average revenue per user and provide a much-needed boost to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation).

As per our forecasts, there will be 3,50,000 HD subscriptions in India by March 2011, growing to more than 5.2 million by March 2015.

Salil Kapoor
chief operating officer, DishTV

The next level of the digital entertainment revolution in the form of HD will catch up with consumers owing to offerings such as DishTV's HD service - Dish Tru HD. HD creates an audio visual sensory experience that is far richer, deeper and more panoramic than standard definition viewing.

In 1982, the Asian Games set the stage for the colour TV revolution. Similarly, the Commonwealth Games 2010 will unleash the HD growth in India. The year also promises back-to-back sporting action in the form of the FIFA World Cup, ICC World Cup and the Champions League. All these sporting events will be broadcast in HD and will add momentum to the growth of HD in India.

For long, consumers have been unable to enjoy the benefit of HD technology due to lack of distribution and programming. But with subscription being as low as Rs 150 for four HD channels and a set top box costing under Rs 6,000, things are bound to change.

R Zutshi
deputy managing director, Samsung India

Given that Indian consumers rapidly adopt new technology, be it LCD TVs or LED TVs, I would say HD TV is here to stay.

The HD phenomenon in India is no different from what we see happening in other advanced markets like the US or Europe. As consumers go in for larger displays, they show a preference for better resolution screens, flatter displays and greater interactivity.

As consumers look at downloading applications and accessing the Internet from their television sets, the preference for HD TVs is bound to increase. This goes beyond just the benefits of better, more real picture quality. Greater affordability is another factor driving the trend towards HD TVs since the differential between HD TVs and non-HD TVs has decreased considerably.

The growing popularity of gaming consoles, full HD DVD and Blu-ray players is contributing to the popularity of HD TVs. The contribution of HD flat panel TVs is 30 per cent of the total flat panel TV market.

(Points of View (POV) is a regular column which carries opinions of industry professionals on a current topic of discussion in the advertising, media and marketing industry.)

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