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Thirst for HD will fuel sales of satellite TV receivers

At least 1 million set-top boxes to pour into market this year, Infosat says

Manufacturers of satellite TV receivers believe an increase in high-definition content will result in a sales boost for them.

"The improved viewing experience from HD channels will persuade customers to purchase an HD satellite TV set-top box to replace the old [standard definition] one," Niran Tangpiroontham, managing director of Infosat, said yesterday.

Niran forecast that at least a million HD set-top boxes would flood the market next year. This excludes TrueVisions HD boxes.

New HD content carried via satellite is the key driver for this segment. Some satellite TV channels that telecast content in standard definition (SD) are keen to upgrade their service to HD.

Meanwhile, some digital terrestrial TV operators are expanding their HD content to match SD to enhance the viewing experience of people via the satellite TV platform. RS Channel 8 and Workpoint TV are examples of this.

There are seven digital terrestrial TV operators offering HD services: One HD, Thairath TV, MCOT HD, Channel 3 HD, Channel 7 HD, Amarin TV HD and PPTV HD.

About 70 per cent of the 22 million households in Thailand watch TV via satellite while the remainder use conventional antennas.

The retail price of an HD set-top box is on average Bt700 higher than the SD box. Niran predicted that in the near future the price gap would narrow.

Pramote Boonumsuk, general manager of DTV Service, said that if the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission allowed people to use its free digital TV coupons to buy a satellite TV set-top box that received HD content, it would be another key driver for the growth of HD boxes.


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