MILAN: HD and 3D TV is to gain ground in Europe as satellite TV broadcasters look to replace lost advertising revenues.
Data from Eutelsat indicate that the number of satellite channels available to consumers across the continent will rise from 27,000 in 2009 to 40,000, including over 7,600 HD channels, in 2019.
Currently, HD channels make up just 3% of the European market.
3D TVs, a more recent innovation, will also gain popularity, with 1,800 channels expected by 2019.
Several soccer World Cup games were broadcast in the format during summer 2010, while Sky is to launch Europe's first 3D-only channel in the UK in October 2010.
Broadcasters' enthusiasm for the new technology comes at a time when their ad revenues are under pressure.
Charging for premium HD and 3D services could provide an alternative source of income for the firms over the long-term.
Michel de Rosen, Eutelstat ceo, said: "HD appears to be strong and solid, and it will be one of our main growth drivers ... A year ago, 3D was almost science fiction but it's now adding to the momentum."
Christophe De Hauwer, SES vp for strategic market development, added: "Sports will be the number one content for 3D, followed by movies and special events."
But de Rosen also highlighted potential barriers to rapid 3D TV growth for the future.
"Content is not evolving as fast as technology and there aren't yet 3D glasses that can be used with all TV sets," he said.
Latest Nielsen data also indicate that HD TV is proving increasingly popular in the US.
The number of households capable of receiving HD signals was found to have risen to 54.2% in July 2010, according to the research firm.
In July 2007, this total stood at just 10%.
Data sourced from Bloomberg/Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff