A recent ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), HDTV market developments in Europe and Japan, and the planned move by Motorola to outsource STBs (set-top boxes) from Asian suppliers, could all be blessings for Taiwan?s STB makers, according to sources. Local makers are expecting an increase in demand for digital terrestrial tuner modules after the FCC said it will start requiring TVs sold in the US market to have built-in HDTV receivers from 2005.
The number of TVs bundled with HDTV receivers in the US market is likely to swell to around 47 million units by 2007, the sources quoted FCC estimates as saying. Taiwanese makers will have an advantage over competitors with their expertise drawn from manufacturing HDTV receivers for LCD, plasma and projection TVs, according to the sources. In Europe, the number of families with digital TV receivers has reached 100,000, though the market is very much in a trial period. When digital TV officially kicks off in 2004, demand for HDTV STBs is expected to swell to 500,000 units, the sources said.