In-Stat/MDR are projecting that the worldwide market for digital tuners in set-top boxes and PC TV cards will be worth US$3.8 billion (€3.12 billion) by 2008.
PC TV cards are growing rapidly in popularity, due to PCs being more readily accepted as the entertainment centre of households. Many lifestyle PCs are being sold with cards preinstalled and preconfigured – and even if a PC doesn’t ship with one, the installation of a decent card will enable the owner to turn their PC into a fully functional PVR.
Consumers now expect their PC to be able to satisfy all of their entertainment needs, and television is an important aspect of this. A home entertainment computer without digital television will not be acceptable for much longer.
Motherboard manufacturers are also getting in on the act, and are producing boards with integrated tuners. Motherboards have always demonstrated a trend for integration – many features which previously required an expansion card, like 5.1 sound, RAID arrays, graphics accelerators and Bluetooth, are now built into some boards.
In-Stat predict that international growth (i.e. non-US) will be key, and that Europe will continue to lead the market for some time. Lifestyle PCs are remarkably popular in Europe, with many major brands such as Sony, HP and Shuttle doing well out of products aimed specifically it the entertainment niche. Asia is rapidly climbing into second place – will there be a time when Asia becomes the world’s largest entertainment market?