The television experience in Brazil is on the verge of a major overhaul â€“ and not just from the analog-to-digital switchover thatâ€™s coming down the pipeline in the next few years. Brazil, considered the largest economy in Latin America, has become the new hot spot for pay-TV services, outpacing Russia, China and India and gaining the attention of companies from Samsung to Netflix in the process.
Expect Brazil to be a darling at ABTA, the top broadcasting trade show in Latin America, when it comes to Sao Paulo later this month. The show will feature technologies that are focused on a new television experience for a region that has been experiencing growth in pay-TV subscriptions of more than 30 percent, as well as 20 percent jumps in broadband service subscriptions.
But also expect to see technologies that address the challenges that come along with that sort of attention. The demand on existing infrastructure and devices is sure to lead to some growing pains as Pay-TV providers jockey for position in the market.
Broadcom, which continues to develop technologies to address these types of pain points, will be in Sao Paulo to showcase our customized technologies designed to ease the transition from analog to digital TV in Latin America. A full suite of key home networking standards and technologies, including MoCA, Wi-Fi, HomePlug AV and Full-Band Capture help pay-tv operators deliver in-demand services and compelling content to the masses.
Researchers with Parks Associates call the growth in Brazil â€śphenomenalâ€ť and said â€śthe country is seeing the emergence of new broadband homes that are able to receive these products and services for the first time.â€ť And while the growth rates in Brazil are enough to get excited about, itâ€™s the potential growth rates for the region that have companies flocking to the region.
In Brazil today, so-called terrestrialâ€”or free-to-airâ€”programming still rules the airwaves, creating an untapped market that can afford subscription-based television but has yet to subscribe. Estimates suggest that as few as 9 million of the 60 million potential households are pay-TV subscribers, just 15 percent.
â€śThis leaves significant slack between the number of people who can afford pay-TV and those that have taken it up, which we believe will sustain rapid growth in the Brazilian market until at least 2014,â€ť analysts with Rethink Technology Research wrote in its 2011 Latin America Pay TV report.
The expanding middle class in Brazil is hungry for sleek digital TVs with more channels, sharper resolution, Digital Video Recorder (DVR), video chat and video-on-demand services. Operators, however, want to offer all of these bells and whistles while maintaining terrestrial TV programming.
Broadcom has created solutions specifically for Latin America that enable terrestrial and pay-TV to coexist so viewers donâ€™t lose local news and sports. Thatâ€™s critical in a country full of soccer fans thatâ€™s hosting the 2014 World Cup.
Broadcomâ€™s newest offerings can be combined with a range of Broadcom set-top box chips to launch Hybrid TV – digital terrestrial broadcast combined with advanced pay TV services. This enables operators to offer subscribers linear TV while adding new, advanced services.
Two Types of Change
As much as the demand is driving the growth, so too is the changing of the competitive landscape.
On one end, the government has started to ease regulations on cable TV operating licenses, opening doors for competitors to enter the market long held by duopoly of providers. New competitors â€“ from big service providers from France, Spain and Mexico to Netflix and Google â€“ has helped drive down subscription costs and made pay-TV more attractive to Brazilians.
Other the other side is the analog-to-digital transition that Brazil is on-track to go through in the next five years or so, similar to what the U.S. did a few years ago. MoCA is also gaining traction as the open, standards-based technology that can transforms existing coaxial cables into a dual-channel driveway that can deliver both video content and Ethernet connectivity in the home.
With the digital transition, millions of Brazilians are set to see Internet-connected TVs for the first time, and Broadcom will be there to ensure that operators can deliver all of the hottest Web-based apps and viewers can enjoy banking, shopping and sharing content through their TVs.
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