It’s clear that HDTV is exploding both in terms of content and consumer adoption. The latest stats I’ve heard are that Pricewaterhouse-Cooper predicts 60% HDTV penetration within five years, while Kagan is significantly more bullish in predicting 81% adoption by 2010. And check out the Multichannel News article from yesterday on how even independent cable operators are making HD a priority.
So how much bandwidth will this growth in HDTV require? Some cable operators believe that 10-20 Mbps per home is all they’ll need to provide. That covers 1-2 HD video streams and several standard-def streams. However, that view is probably short-sighted. As Verizon continues to offer more bandwidth, new uses for HD content and new television applications are bound to start showing up to eat away at any bandwidth available. Think about the number of TVs in your home, for example. At some point they will all be HD, which means multiple HD streams possible at any given time. Go beyond that and think of a multi-view experience, where multiple HD images are broadcast to a single screen, either for picture-in-picture or mosaic TV applications, or for gaming.
HDTV will continue to grow. So will its bandwidth requirements. 10-20 Mbps is probably just the beginning.