Hewlett-Packard Pushes TV-Tuner Cards

U.S. shipments of digital-TV tuner cards for PCs (PCTV tuner cards) doubled over the past year, according to a report from IMS Research, driven by Hewlett-Packard's decision to bundle digital-TV tuners in the bulk of its desktop PCs.

The report from U.K.-based IMS, The Worldwide Market for Digital TV on the PC, estimated that shipments of digital PCTV tuner cards went from 2.5 million units in 2006 to 5.2 million in 2007. IMS found that in the same period, the digital-PCTV tuner-card market in Western Europe grew showed less growth, with a 52% increase from 4.2 million to 6.4 million units.

“HP has taken an aggressive first step in transforming the PCTV market from one driven by the aftermarket to one driven by the OEMs [original-equipment manufacturers],” IMS analyst Stephen Froehlich said in a statement. “This one decision has had profound effects on the market, driving prices down, volumes up and increasing the share of the U.S. and Canadian market for digital PCTV tuners, despite the fact that HP’s initiative extends to both its portable and desktop PC lines in Europe. The big question looming over the market is who will go next and when.”

However, the IMS report found that penetration of TV tuners in laptops will remain low until the Advanced Television Systems Committee approves a mobile and hand-held version of the U.S. digital-TV standard, which IMS doesn't expect until mid-2009.

IMS also predicted that the market for analog/digital hybrid PCTV tuners will fluctuate wildly over the next few years, peaking in 2008; dropping to one-half of its peak by 2010 due to the turn-off of analog broadcasts in the United States; then growing again in 2012 as digital-terrestrial-TV rollouts take off in Asia.