German satellite TV market accelerates

The end of an era is approaching in Germany as on April 30, all analogue satellite TV broadcasts on the Astra satellite will terminate.

According to GfK research, the digital switchover that has taken place in the last 12 months has had a positive impact on the sales of DVB-S set top boxes, which have increased by 24%. In January alone, sales started to accelerate and increased by 60%, year on year.

Flat Panel TVs, with built-in DVB-S tuners, experienced similar growth in January, with a rise of nearly 60% compared to the same period of 2011. During this time, three out of every five models were equipped with a digital satellite reception.

The high demand for these products also led to lower consumer prices. Regarding DVB-S set top boxes, the average selling price in January dropped by 24% (year on year) to €88, while entry level products could be found for less than €30. However, these inexpensive devices only provide SD satellite reception.

Set top boxes also saw a rise in the integration of PVR functionality and IP based services (hybrid sets). 20% of devices sold were compatible with an external hard drive, while 10% had one built in.

Hybrid models are not a major trend at the moment, but are set to grow in popularity following the digital switch off. These internet-connected devices accounted for around 4% of all units sold in January.

On April 30, all German analogue broadcasts will cease. The private and public broadcasters have agreed to simultaneously switch off their analogue signals, making room for more digital HD channels.